In San Francisco, Lime has expanded its fleet to 2,000 e-scooters after being granted permission from the city to take over the permit of JUMP—the former competitor it purchased in May for $170 million.
The permit purchase was approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees the Powered Scooter Program. As a result of the permit purchase, Lime is now the largest e-scooter brand in San Francisco.
Since the first wave of the 1,000 new e-scooters was rolled out, Lime reported an increased number of rides. While there’s no official data yet, EV Ellington, California general manager for Lime, released the following statement: “As a local company, we understand that getting around has been a bit more challenging these days, especially given the need to maintain a safe distance from others. We hope that with more scooters on the ground, we can help make life easier for those looking to make short trips sustainably and in the open air.”
Prior to this acquisition, four companies, Scoot, Spin, Lime, and JUMP, were given a one-year permit, each being allotted 1,000 vehicles to be deployed through the city. This was assuming they met a number of equity, safety, and accessibility requirements. The program came with the opportunity to eventually expand to 2,500 should they consistently meet agency standards.
Lime purchased the Uber-owned JUMP earlier in 2020, so the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s decision allows Lime to take over its former rival’s permit’s scale and responsibilities.
In August, the city approved a six-month extension of the four ongoing permits, allowing them to continue through April 15, 2021. Minor modifications, like more equitable distribution of parking device requirements, were discussed.
While e-scooter usage initially decreased with the COVID-19 pandemic, ridership data from Lime shows more people are starting scooter trips from residential neighborhoods. The Powered Scooter Program has given the city more control over enforcement and allowed them to use a heavier hand when working with companies on where their scooters will be distributed.
To meet increased demand, Lime plans to expand to the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods, where they previously haven’t been. It also plans to increase the number of vehicles available in key areas, like Mission, Bayview-Hunters Point, and Western Addition.
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