San Francisco officials, who rejected electric scooters after an unruly, unlicensed rollout a year ago, are now cottoning to the two-wheel devices under a yearlong trial that limits their numbers. Midway through that trial, the city is poised to consider next week whether to double the number of street-rented scooters it allows, now that they’ve ironed out some kinks — notably preventing theft and deterring some vandalism by adding built-in locks to all scooters as of early February.
Locks also ensure that parked scooters aren’t tipped over and don’t block sidewalks, curb cuts or crosswalks as they have to be affixed to bike racks or posts. “We’re the first city in the country that has all our scooters lockable.”
Of some 1,700 riders polled earlier this year, 36% said otherwise they would have taken Uber or Lyft, while 5% said they’d have driven alone. Of the rest, 31% would have walked, 11% would have used public transit, 9% would have biked and 8% were “other.”
On their most-recent trip, 34% of respondents used scooters to get to or from public transportation, the transportation agency [Muni] noted. Its conclusion: “Scooters induce transit trips at roughly four times the rate that they replace transit trips, indicating that they could complement transit by serving as a valuable last-mile connection.”