In response to the spread of COVID-19, three of the four e-scooter companies in San Francisco are halting operations. The companies include Lime, Scoot, and Jump. Spin is currently the only company still providing service in the area.
The decision to pause operations happened after Mayor London Breed ordered residents to shelter-in-place starting March 24, 2020. All non-essential businesses were ordered to close, causing disruption for many of the service-based industries in the city.
Lime has not only paused services in San Francisco but in much of the world. The company has slowed and ceased operations in Austria, Israel, Greece, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Bulgaria in response to the spread of the virus. In a blog post, the company wrote, “Loving cities means protecting them too. For now, we’re pausing Lime service to help people stay put and stay safe.”
Scoot has also chosen to temporarily end its moped service throughout the city. While Jump, which is owned and operated by Uber, has paused e-scooter operations, it is still offering 250 e-bike rentals. But the service area is reduced. Currently, the bikes are available in the city’s East side – from part of the Bayview and Excelsior and up north to Presidio Heights.
Spin, which is owned and operated by Ford Motor Company, is still operating in San Francisco – and they have the city’s backing to do so. According to the Municipal Transportation Agency, shared mobility operations, which include e-bikes and e-scooters, are considered essential services. The city has given permission for those companies to continue operation.
According to a statement from Spin Senior Policy Council Nima Rahimi, the e-scooters provide an alternative to public transportation and help maintain the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing: “Our service can provide transportation access for essential trips – like rides to grocery stores and pharmacies to medical care and COVID-19 testing facilities – that by nature allows for social distancing.”
In an effort to keep riders safe, Spin has increased the frequency at which it cleans its e-scooters. They are also offering hourly employees an additional five days of paid wellness leave on top of their existing sick pay. In the event warehouses suspend operations due to the virus or government order, Spin plans to continue to pay furloughed hourly workers for up to four weeks.
For more information on how COVID-19 is impacting the rideshare industry, click here.