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San Francisco Could See 27,000 E-Scooters On Streets If All Applicants Are Licensed

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Skip and Scoot are the only two operators allowed to operate in San Francisco as part of its pilot program but, this fall, riders could have much larger fleets to choose from, if e-scooter companies get their way.

Since the city released its application to operate in the city, 11 have applied. Each operator could add up to 2,500 scooters to the streets. That could mean as many as 27,500 scooters in total, though the SFMTA has not said how many companies would be approved.

"It's convenient. I understand the hesitancy with the pedestrians and all that but I love riding it," said DeShae Alcorn of Oakland.

Currently, the city allows a maximum of 2,500 scooters on its streets.

"Thousands more scooters sounds like it could be a little problematic. I know that it's pretty crowded as it is ... But if people are just smart about using them, I think it shouldn't be too big of a problem," said Stefan Buhr, who lives on the Peninsula.

The SFMTA says it sees e-scooters as a good fit for last-mile commutes. That's exactly what Melissa Stankus and her husband Colin use their scooters for.

"It would kind of help get cars off the streets so I feel like a big part of the commute is just all of the traffic," said Stankus who lives in Castro Valley.

Last spring, scooters were pulled from the streets, after rolling out with no regulations in place.

The city then began a year-long pilot program.

In a statement to KPIX, Joe Arellano, Lime spokesman for the Bay Area said:

"We're thrilled the SFMTA has opened the scooter share program to other operators. We're excited at the prospect of providing affordable, equitable and safe transportation right here in our own backyard. With over 65 million rides in more than 100 cities around the globe, we're eager to bring our extensive experience to San Francisco, and help ensure all corners of the city have access to a more convenient and less expensive way to get around."

Lyft is also among the applicants.

"We're excited about the possibility of bringing more mobility options to San Francisco riders to give them another affordable and convenient way to get around," Jake Darby, market manager for Lyft Bikes & Scooters, said in a statement.

The SFMTA says it expects to issue permits that last for one year in early fall so there will be no gap in service when the current permits expire on October 14.

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