Lyft, Lime, Razor recommended for SA scooter permits

City prepares to scale back dockless vehicle permits to 5,000, only three operators

SAN ANTONIO – It may be almost time to start deleting some scooter apps.

Less than a year-and-a-half after they first popped up in San Antonio, city officials are poised to limit the number and type of dockless vehicles on city streets.

City staff members will present their recommendation Wednesday to the San Antonio City Council at B-Session that Lyft, Lime and Razor be chosen to share 5,000 permits for scooters and e-bikes.

Lyft and Lime both operate stand-up scooters, while Razor's scooters allow riders to sit.

It was not immediately clear what set the three operators apart from their six competitors in the bidding process, including Bird, which operates the largest fleet in the city. Center City Development and Operations officials declined an interview before Wednesday's presentation.

Since scooters first appeared without warning in June 2018, the city has been scrambling for the best way to deal with them. Though immensely popular, they've also drawn the irritation of many residents who believe they're dangerous and clutter up the city.

The city first instituted a pilot program in October 2018 with a framework for registering the scooters. A total of 16,100 permits were awarded to seven different operators before officials put a moratorium in place in February.

By the end of May, city officials had reduced the number of permits down to 8,850 for the existing seven operators. In June, Uber announced it was pulling its JUMP bikes and scooters out of San Antonio. https://www.ksat.com/news/ubers-service-of-jump-bikes-scooters-to-end-in-san-antonio-on-thursday/ The rideshare company is also partnered with Lime.

The remaining six companies in San Antonio have permits for 6,850 dockless vehicles:

  • Lyft: 1,000
  • Razor: 1,000
  • Bird: 2,250
  • Lime: 2,000
  • Spin: 500
  • Blue Duck: 100

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the contracts for the dockless vehicle operators on Dec. 12. Once the three operators are approved, the others will have 30 days to clear out of the city.

Scooters have had an occasionally bumpy ride in San Antonio.

The San Antonio Fire Department tracked scooter-related accidents for a year, from Sep. 24, 2018 to Sep. 24, 2019. At that time, they recorded 216 incidents with 134 trips to the hospital.

Recorded injuries included everything from scrapes to head injuries, and one incident was even noted as "Not Wreck: Assaulted by Scooter."

From a nuisance standpoint, residents have complained of people riding on the sidewalk, as well as leaving the dockless vehicles cluttered on it.

Sidewalk riding has been illegal since July. From July 1 to Nov. 6, San Antonio police said they had issued only six citations, but they've given 1,522 warnings.

As for parking, city staff will develop a new parking framework with the help of the companies that get the contract.

City Council B-Session will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in council chambers.

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