Uber, Lyft want to scoot you around San Francisco

Dara Khosrowshahi

Dara Khosrowshahi

Ofo's protracted application for a permit to run the city's first bike share scheme was rejected by authorities, meaning the USA scooter craze could be the bike company's chance to have a visible (bright yellow?) presence in the tech center.

Lyft and Uber represent just two of the 12 firms that have applied for permits to operate motorised scooters in San Francisco.

If Uber gets its way, it would be double-dipping in the bike-share market - in April it ponied up nearly $200 million for Brooklyn-based Jump, which operates about 425 dockless electric bikes in San Francisco and Washington, DC, and which will be participating in a pilot program in New York City's outer boroughs this summer.

On June 1 it was reported that rival ride-hailing company Lyft was close to a deal to buy the Citi Bike operator - which also runs the Ford GoBike program in Detroit. Ofo, which has its US HQ in San Francisco, had worked with the city's authorities for six months to try to secure a place in the pilot and complained about the process.

"As part of their permit application, companies must demonstrate how they will minimize their impact on San Francisco's sidewalks, while maximizing their transparency to the public", the SFMTA explained in how it'll choose which applicants will receive the permits.

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While the city is processing the permits, no company is allowed to have its scooters on city streets.

To get the permits, each company has to demonstrate that it will provide user education on safe sidewalk riding and parking, be insured and have a privacy policy to safeguard users' information.

A few weeks ago, the city announced new regulations for electric scooters.

Other more expected applications came in from Spin, Lime, and Bird, which were already operating in San Francisco until the city shut down operations last week. The other companies are Scoot, Skip, Razor, Hopr, USSCooter and Ridecell.

Electric scooters, gradually making its way into the United States transportation system looks like the next area Uber would be battling with Lyft.

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