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In Scooter Wars, City Ties Might Level Playing Field

San Francisco officials are expected to decide within weeks which companies will win five coveted slots to operate electric scooters in the city. The more than a dozen contenders include Uber and Lyft, which have recently entered the scooter market, and Bird, Lime and Ofo, three transportation startups with billion-dollar valuations from venture capitalists.

And then there is Scoot, a little-known moped rental service that recently has set its sights on e-scooters. Insiders say it has a strong chance of snaring one of San Francisco’s permits, thanks to a good relationship with regulators and a pitch that is designed to appeal to local concerns about scooter parking and the treatment of employees.