Uber, Lyft Want in on San Francisco's Electric Scooter Craze

Uber and Lyft scooters are coming soon to San Francisco streets

Uber, Lyft want to scoot you around San Francisco

The law says that over the next year only five companies will get permits to put their scooters throughout the city.

Axios reported on Friday that San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc.is considering an offer to buy New York-based Motivate International, the bikeshare company behind Ford GoBike in the Bay Area and CitiBike on the East Coast. These include the three companies that have already launched fleets in the city - Bird, LimeBike, and Spin - as well as newcomers, such as Lyft, Skip, and the bike-sharing company Ofo.

To apply for a scooter permit the cost is $5,000 and winners will have the pay $25,000 per year to the city and contribute another $10,000 to property repairs as well as maintenance endowment.

Included in the dozen applications for the 12-month pilot program to run a scooter-share service are ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber. The permit process was instituted after thousands of electric scooters descended on San Francisco in April with little to no warning to city officials.

It cost the companies $5,000 to apply for a permit; winners will pay the city $25,000 a year and contribute $10,000 to a property fix and maintenance endowment. The number of permits could double in the program's remaining six months. According to Axios, Lime and Spin have said they will comply with the rules set down by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and Bird would work with the SFMTA to obtain a permit. The companies also need to share trip data with the city and offer a plan for low-income riders.

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. Scoot rents out motorized scooters that look like mopeds. Lyft is rumored to be getting into bike rentals too with a possible acquisition of Motivate. Lyft is also looking into starting a sharing service for electric-assist bikes. Ofo's protracted application for a permit to run the city's first bike share scheme was rejected by authorities, meaning the U.S. scooter craze could be the bike company's chance to have a visible (bright yellow?) presence in the tech center.

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