Uber and Lyft have officially put their respective names into the electric scooter competition. Uber and Lyft are among the 11 companies that applied to operate an electric scooter-sharing service within San Francisco city limits. The city, however, will only offer up to five companies permits to operate as part of a one-year test program.
Uber declined to comment, but confirmed that it has applied for a permit via JUMP, the bike-share startup Uber acquired for about $200 million in April. Once Uber is cleared to operate electric scooters, the plan is to integrate them into the Uber app and continue fleshing out Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s vision for a full-fledged multi-modal transportation platform.
Lyft also confirmed to TechCrunch that the company applied for a permit, but declined to share any further details. Here’s the full list of companies that applied, via the SFMTA:
- JUMP via Uber
- Razor (yes, *that* Razor)
- . Skip
San Francisco’s permit process came as a result of Bird, Lime and Spin deploying their electric scooters without permission in the city in March. As part of a new city law, which went into effect June 4, scooter companies are not able to operate their services in San Francisco without a permit. The SFMTA said it’s aiming to notify companies of their permit status by the end of June.
Ofo has also confirmed its permit application, saying its “goal is to get more people out of cars and into more affordable, greener transportation alternatives, and we’re excited for the opportunity to do that right here in San Francisco, where we recently submitted an application to operate our e-scooters. We’re looking forward to continue working with the city and are hopeful to start serving San Franciscans with our best-in-class operations team.”
Beijing-based Ofo, which is one of two billion-dollar bike-sharing companies from China, earlier this year asked the SFMTA to consider reopening the permit process and continue giving permits to other startups that fulfill the requirements and show a commitment to improving the city’s transportation system.
For more information about electric scooter regulation in San Francisco, be sure to check out my previous coverage.