San Francisco, Santa Monica pick which e-scooter companies can zoom about

Santa Monica has chosen four companies to operate dockless electric scooters and e-bikes, while San Francisco has chosen two, spurning larger companies who had operated in the city without permission earlier this spring.

On Thursday, Santa Monica announced that Lime, Bird, Lyft and Uber-owned Jump can join the Shared Mobility Pilot Program, set to kick off Sept. 17.

On the same day, the city of San Francisco announced it had selected Scoot Networks and Skip to operate a total of 1,250 electric scooters. Some of the bigger, more high-profile applicants were left out, including ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber, whose Jump e-bike subsidiary applied. Also, Lime, Bird and Spin,  Hopr, Ofo, Razor, Ridecel and Uscooters did not receive the green light.

In April, San Francisco ordered e-scooters owned by Lime, Bird and Spin off the streets amid complaints they were clogging sidewalks and creating a safety hazard. Those companies expressed displeasure at San Francisco's decision, and some vowed to appeal. These companies can now still operate in Oakland and San Jose, where formal rules have not yet been established.

Many cities are struggling to regulate the popular e-scooters amid complaints that customers ride them dangerously and leave them clogging sidewalks.

Santa Monica's 16-month pilot program will allow 1,000 e-bikes and 2,000 e-scooters in the eight-square-mile city. However, they're banned from its famous pier and beach bike path.

A city committee had recommended against including Lime and Bird in the project, leading to protests by those companies. Bird is based in Santa Monica but it launched its business there last year without city permission, later agreeing to pay $300,000 in fines.