Scooters return to San Francisco streets after ban, parking problems persist

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When scooters first landed on San Francisco streets in March, their riders parked with impunity. (KGO-TV)

When scooters first landed on San Francisco streets in March, their riders parked with impunity. They were thrown into trees, strewn across sidewalks and left broken in bushes. So, city hall banned the scooters and then on Monday allowed two companies, Skip and Scoot, to relaunch under a new permit program.

"Its been great," exclaimed Skip's spokeswoman, Martha Shaugnessy. ABC7 showed her photos of Skip scooters parked incorrectly on city streets Wednesday morning. Shaughnessy says educating their riders about the rules of the road is a priority. "As people are learning how to use them and how to integrate into the infrastructure of the city, we're going to have a lot of opportunity to teach the right way to be riders, the right way to respect non riders and three days in we're pretty happy with how things are going so far."

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But users may put the breaks on riders ed. San Francisco resident and scooter rider, Bayaraa Baterdene, told ABC7 he's not clear on how to properly park the scooters.

"Whenever you get there, you just leave it on the side of the street. that's one of the main problems, said Baterdene. When asked if he was willing to read the rules and learn how to park he said, "Ugh, we're kind of immature when it comes to that, it's cool, I don't think I would take my time."

"We do follow up on complaints," said Paul Rose who is SFMTA's spokesman. He says the agency has been fielding scooter complaint calls this week and have the authority to fine Scoot and Skip. "It's $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for each additional complaint and fine."

Rose says SFMTA hasn't counted the number of complaints or how many fines Skip and Scoot could be facing. "The main thing is we want to make sure the companies are getting the information that there are complaints and then help their customers improve on their usage of the scooters," said Rose, acknowledging that it's still very early in the process.

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The General Manager of Scoot, Bob Walsh, spoke to ABC7 by phone and says this week's launch has been going well despite some complaints.

He says the scooter technology allows Scoot to contact a user who's received a complaint and educate them about how to properly ride and park.

He says it states in their terms of service, that Scoot can fine or ban riders who don't comply.

Knowing where to park in San Francisco can be tricky because city streets are so crowded. Skip says in the next few days, they will be testing new hardware on some scooters that allows riders to attach the scooters to bike racks, which they hope will clear up some parking confusion.
Related Topics:
businesstechnologyelectric vehiclese-bikesregulationsmass transitstartuptrafficSFMTApublic transportationSan Francisco
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