The city of San Fransisco, home to e-scooter startup Bird, announced new regulations for scooters and a permit process at the end of May. Under those rules, startups had to remove their scooters from the streets by June 4th and apply for permits by June 7th. Those that win permits will be allowed into a 12-month pilot program. The measures are supposed to clean up the sidewalks in a city overrun by electric scooter startups.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has said it’s only granting five permits to companies. Ten other companies have applied besides Uber and Lyft, including Bird, Spin, Lime, and Scoot. The results will be out at the end of June.
Until then, Bird founder has called on his competitors to help keep the sidewalks clean through the SOS pledge. Companies that take this pledge will commit to actions to prevent American cities from suffering the same fate of many Chinese cities where out-of-control vehicle deployment has led to piles of abandoned and broken bicycles over-running sidewalks and polluting public areas.
The three pillars of the SOS Pledge are:
- Daily Pickup. We will operate a program designed to retrieve all of our vehicles every night. We will inspect every vehicle for necessary maintenance and repairs. Most importantly, the entire fleet will be repositioned to where the vehicles are wanted the next day, so they are not cluttering up our neighborhoods.
- Responsible Growth. We will not increase our supply of vehicles in a city unless they are being used at least three times per vehicle per day (weather permitting). We will remove underutilized vehicles. We will share our utilization data with cities so they can verify this fact.
- Revenue Sharing. We offer to remit $1 per vehicle per day to city governments so they can use this money to build more bike lanes, promote safe riding, and maintain our shared infrastructure.