Lyft and Uber Entering Scooter Scene

The City of Santa Monica has selected Bird, Lime, Uber and Lyft as Scooter Operators under their Shared Mobility Pilot Program. Photo: Morgan Genser.

City of Santa Monica selects Uber and Lyft along with Bird and Lime for scooter program. 

By Sam Catanzaro

Lime, Bird, Lyft and Jump (owned by Uber) have been announce as the four scooter companies allowed to operate in Santa Monica under the City’s Shared Mobility Pilot Program set to begin on September 17.

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Each of the four selected operators will begin the program with 750 devices each, totaling 1,000 e-bikes and 2,000 e-scooters. Bird and Lime will both be allocated 750 scooters while Jump (owned by Uber) and Lyft will both get 250 scooters each. Jump and Lyft will each get 500 e-bikes each.

“The selected companies bring a wide range of local, national and international experience that will contribute to a comprehensive and informative pilot program,” said Director of Planning and Community Development David Martin. “The City looks forward to working closely with each of these operators to identify innovative solutions that help create a viable, well-operated long-term shared mobility program in Santa Monica.”

Following the launch of the pilot program, the City can increase or decrease the number of devices each company is allowed to operate depending on utilization and performance.

“The pilot program has been designed to collaboratively and flexibly develop an effective model to regulate these new shared transportation options to ensure compliance with applicable laws while promoting health and safety,” wrote City Public Information Officer Constance Farrell in a press release.

On Aug. 7 the City of Santa Monica’s Shared Mobility Device Selection Committee released their rankings of potential operators with Bird and Lime ranked 10th and 4th respectively. Concerned that they would not be allowed to operate in the City under the pilot program, Bird and Lime both temporarily suspended service on their devices in a symbolic protest on Aug 14. In his decision Thursday, Martin made a note to point out both of these companies’ effort to comply with the City in recent months.

“While compliance issues have arisen since the introduction of shared mobility devices in Santa Monica, more recently, Bird and Lime have both shown a consistent and continuing willingness to work with the City to develop a practical and functional shared mobility device program,” Martin wrote.

Despite the device limit placed on scooter operators under this pilot program, the City will not be able to control the influx of scooters coming into Santa Monica from neighboring parts of the City of Los Angeles. What the City can control under this program is how many devices operators are allowed to place throughout Santa Monica each day.

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