Lime files appeal; wants scooters back on San Francisco streets

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After being denied a permit to operate in San Francisco, lawyers for electric scooter company Lime are trying to get the city to change its mind. In a special hearing Friday afternoon, the company is appealing the denial on the grounds that the application process was biased.

Before the hearing, employees of Lime and some supporters rallied outside city hall, arguing that the e-scooter company deserves a permit.

RELATED: Scooter company Lime says SF permit process was biased

Lime's Megan Colford said, "We believe there's an opportunity for the city to answer the voices that are asking for better transportation and better scooter options."

A couple of speakers said Lime could also bring jobs to underserved San Francisco communities. Keith Hazell is a job developer at the Western Addition Success Center.

"It's a great opportunity for our youth to work as mechanics, ambassadors, that type of thing."

Lime was one of three scooter companies that began operating in the city without permission earlier this year. San Francisco issued a cease and desist order and pulled all their scooters off the street based on 2,000 complaints.

RELATED: Lime's restraining order denied; electric scooters back on San Francisco streets Monday

"Complaints ranged from scooters blocking the sidewalk, blocking entryways, blocking a public right of way, illegal riding or unsafe riding," said Paul Rose of the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

That's when the city launched a pilot program, allowing two smaller companies to operate-- Scoot and Skip. Since then, only 300 complaints. Lime was denied a permit and in Friday's appeal hearing, their attorneys argued that the application process was weighted against them because of their unorthodox roll out.

"I'm going to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that application process of the pilot share e-scooter program was tainted by bias," said Lime attorney Bill Stern.

Attorneys for the city say that's just sour grapes.

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

"This process was fair and according to a fair set of criteria and to a reasoned analysis Lime's application simply did not measure up," said Neha Gupta of the San Francisco City Attorneys office.

A decision on the appeal is expected sometime in January.
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