Still, the regulation is a breakthrough in the market. With e-scooters and e-bikes gaining popularity throughout the US, what San Franciso does could set the mood for other cities in the country.
Scoot is known for its red electric moped, which gained a lot of popularity in Barcelona. Now, the company will be one of the city’s two retailers, now that e-scooters are allowed back on the market in San Francisco.
San Franciso had an interesting fight last year, while deciding on the fate of these electronic scooter businesses. At first, the city government seemed to have a problem with these companies and their scooter-rental programs going without any kind of inspection or approval process. Several users had issues with these companies that they couldn’t resolve. So the city banned them, pending a permit program. Which, of course, took forever.
Tech businesses everywhere are watching how these new permits and regulations coming from San Francisco end up treating the e-scooter industry. It may thrive – or the city might nix it altogether.
On Monday, 625 of its newly designed “kick” e-scooters were released onto San Francisco streets. New riders could get a free red helmet if they take the scooters out on the first day. The same e-scooters are also coming to Santiago, Chile.
A modified Telepod scooter with lots of red paint, the scooters will have swappable batteries that company employees can swap out, just like with Scoot’s mopeds.
This will make the e-scooters available 24-7, a boon for commuters with non-traditional working hours. They’re available through the same app used to rent the motor bikes.
Scoot CEO Michael Keating said the next version of the scooters will have locks on them, so they can be locked to sign posts and bike racks, instead of dumped all over city sidewalks. Scoot might also add a box for helmets — again, like its mopeds. “We’re going to learn a lot” during the year-long pilot program in San Francisco, he said.
Skip is one of the smaller companies – operating in Washington DC, and Portland, Oregon, while some of it’s competitors that were rejected operate in over 100 different cities.
Regardless, residents of the city can now use this alternate method of transportation to get to work. Both companies have built special models for commuting that go at faster speeds and are suitable for the bike lane. For those who have never learned to ride a bike – now’s your chance!
Depending on what happens with e-scooters next, the city will likely open up to other companies participating in rideshare programs.