Uber and Lyft will roll out scooters in San Francisco

Dara Khosrowshahi

Reuters

The ride-hailing service said it plans to offer electric scooters as part of its new direction to make Uber a complete transportation platform. The city will give up to five company permits to operate. Chinese bike-share giant Ofo, Scoot, Hopr (AKA Cyclehop), Ridecell, Razor (scooter craze creator) and USScooter are among the additional companies that applied for the permit.

Other than motorized scooters, Uber has introduced electric-assist bikes to its app in cities including San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz and Washington through its acquisition of the bike-sharing company Jump.

Lyft has been in talks with officials of San Francisco city to discuss possible permit through applications and has proposed some prototypes as at last month according to TechCrunch.

Lyft was reportedly in talks to acquire bike-share company Motivate, the company behind Citi Bikes in NY and Ford GoBikes in the Bay Area.

In April, San Francisco took action after three companies-Bird, Lime, and Spin-unloaded hundreds of scooters across the city.

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It cost the companies $5,000 to apply for a permit; winners will pay the city $25,000 a year and contribute $10,000 to a property fix and maintenance endowment. "This permit program represents a thoughtful, coordinated and effective approach to ensure that San Francisco strikes the right balance".

This forced San Francisco to ban the personalized transportation machines until it got its arms around regulations.

To get the permits, each company has to demonstrate that it will provide user education on safe sidewalk riding and parking, be insured and have a privacy policy to safeguard users' information.

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. Ofo's protracted application for a permit to run the city's first bike share scheme was rejected by authorities, meaning the U.S. scooter craze could be the bike company's chance to have a visible (bright yellow?) presence in the tech center.

Of these 12 companies, only six are known to make or operate electric scooters - Bird, Lime, Spin, Uscooter, Skip and Razor.

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