Two scooter companies allowed to hit some streets in San Francisco

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Starting on Monday, after a four-month absence, you may notice electric scooters zipping around on some San Francisco streets again.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has issued permits for two companies to legally provide scooters in the city again - as part of a pilot program. 

Those two scooter companies are Scoot and Skip.

Those two companies won out among several contenders to be the only two legally permitted scooter companies to operate in The City. Officials said they were picked because they made the strongest commitment to public safety. 

Some people said they were happy "Oh I'm definitely going to switch over, or download the app. Whatever I need to. I'll be trying one soon enough, probably lunchtime today, hopefully," said scooter rider Michael Rubin. 

Earlier this year, there were scooters from half a dozen different companies, zipping around San Francisco streets. Spin, Lime and Bird scooters flooded streets and sidewalks. Part of the outcry against them was the tripping hazard they became as users did not show etiquette and left the scooters scattered about.  

Soon, city leaders started to get complaints about too many scooters – and riders not using helmets and being unsafe. 

Along with complaints about scooters left in the middle of sidewalks, city supervisors and the SFMTA stepped in. Supervisors passed a city law, temporarily banning scooters until proper permits could be established. Scoot and Skip were the only two companies that got those permits, for now.

They're deploying about 1,250 scooters starting on Monday with each company allowed 625 each. But they will only be available in limited areas, mostly along Market and Mission and in the city's north and south eastern neighborhoods.

"It seems a bit limited," Tristan Vestly said on Monday, after testing out a Skip scooter. "I appreciate they're back though."

Scoot and Skip will have the permits to operate in San Francisco for the next year.

By the end of the year they could have the option of doubling the number of scooters they have in the city, to about 2,500. 

On Friday Lime asked a judge to block the launch of today's scooter program, but the judge declined. The company was shut out of SFMTA's permitting process. Lime officials told KTVU they are looking forward to deposition the SFMTA members will have to give this week to detail how the agency decided the scooter process. Then, based on that new information, another court hearing will occur next month, to decide if a preliminary injunction is necessary. Lime said its appeal will still go forward later this month.

The city said if the current pilot program works out, they may expand to the other companies that were left out of the permitting process. 

SFMTA will work with San Francisco Police Department and the Department of Public Works to police the scooter companies, but ultimately the city hopes scooter companies and users will police themselves.