San Francisco’s transportation agency said Uber and Ford, as well as startups Lime and Bird could operate 1,000 scooters each in the city starting next month. That will double the number of scooters currently on city’s streets.
Each company can grow its fleet to 2,500 scooters over the next year if it meets performance incentives.
There were also losers in the contest. Namely, Lyft, which operates the city’s bike-sharing service through its Motivate division. The company scored low on its plans for scooter pricing and safety. It’s also a blow for Skip, an Accel-backed startup that had already been operating in San Francisco.
Bird will operate in San Francisco under its Scoot brand, which it purchased earlier this year and had already been operating in the city. Ford scooters are called Spin, a brand the automaker bought last year. Uber’s scooters are called Jump, a company bought last year. Lime, which likely has most scooters of any company globally, had previously been shut out of operating in its hometown.
The next question will be: Can the companies make money in San Francisco? Be skeptical, but there is some cause for hope. The city is one of the most dense in the U.S., making it potentially desirable. Customers are also supposed to lock scooters to bike racks or poles, which could prevent theft.