Judge de­nies re­quest to halt S.F. scooter plan

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BAY AREA - By Car­olyn Said

A San Fran­cisco judge on Fri­day turned down a re­quest by startup Lime to block the city’s e-scooter pilot pro­gram, which is sched­uled to start Mon­day with 1,250 scoot­ers from two ri­val com­pa­nies, Scoot and Skip.

San Fran­cisco’s Lime was one of a dozen com­pa­nies that vied for up to five per­mits to op­er­ate e-scoot­ers here. The San Fran­cisco Mu­nic­i­pal Trans­porta­tion Agency cre­ated the per­mit process af­ter Lime, Bird and Spin flooded city streets with scoot­ers in the spring, draw­ing com­plaints about them block­ing side­walks and dis­turb­ing pedes­tri­ans. Lime and other com­pa­nies were dinged in the se­lec­tion process over past “bad be­hav­ior,” caus­ing it to cry foul.

It filed an ap­peal, as did Spin and Uber’s Jump. Then Lime sought a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der to stop Mon­day’s roll­out un­til it could ar­gue why it should have been se­lected. “Lime as­serts the SFMTA’s de­vel­op­ment of the pilot pro­gram and per­mit­ting process was bi­ased and flawed from the out­set,” it said in a press re­lease on Thurs­day. It char­ac­ter­ized the se­lec­tion of Scoot and Skip as “lock­ing Lime and sim­i­lar op­er­a­tors out of the city, un­der­min­ing fair com­pe­ti­tion, con­sumer choice, and with­out suf­fi­cient com­mu­nity in­put.” The city re­jected those ar­gu­ments.

“We’re pleased the court de­nied Lime’s re­quest for a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der,” said John Coté, a spokesman for City At­tor­ney Den­nis Her­rera. “The SFMTA’s per­mit pro­gram has been both fair and trans­par­ent. Lime just didn’t like the out­come. The re­al­ity is that Lime’s ap­pli­ca­tion fell no­tably short of its com­peti­tors. That’s why it didn’t get a per­mit. San Fran­cis­cans de­serve scooter ser­vices that are safe, eq­ui­table and ac­count­able, which is ex­actly what this pilot pro­gram was de­signed to do.” “We look for­ward to hav­ing our pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion re­quest heard in the com­ing days,” Lime said. A hear­ing is sched­uled for Novem­ber.

Car­olyn Said is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: csaid@sfchron­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @csaid

Michael Ma­cor / The Chron­i­cle

Lime was among the com­pa­nies that flooded San Fran­cisco’s streets with scoot­ers in the spring. Lime’s past “bad be­hav­ior” was one rea­son the city re­jected its pilot-pro­gram ap­pli­ca­tion.

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