A Scoot electric scooter was locked to just about every bike rack on Ingleside’s stretch of Ocean Avenue over the weekend of Dec. 7.
In the fall, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency selected four e-scooter companies — Scoot, Spin, Jump and Lime — to operate under a new permit program. Each company is required to distribute scooters throughout what’s called the “Core Zone.”
Ocean View, Merced Heights, Ingleside, City College of San Francisco’s Ocean Campus and elsewhere in the city’s southwestern quadrant fall into the Core Zone.
“Our initial deployment into the southern part of San Francisco was a little over 100 scooters,” Scoot Senior Manager of Government Affairs Bob Walsh said. “The Ocean Avenue corridor got about 48 scooters. This is an initial deployment, and it would not increase unless there is a demand for more. The number of scooters will fluctuate depending on weather, time of year, etc.”
Scoot dominates Ingleside over its competitors because it was granted more permits during the pilot permit period, but other operators will be required to operate in the neighborhood as they acquire more permits.
Neil Ballard, associate director of the Ocean Avenue Association, immediately noticed the scooters when they rolled out on a foggy morning in December.
“Scoot has certainly made up for lost time,” Ballard said. “Overnight, we went from having a few scooters on Ocean Avenue to full coverage.” (Disclosure: the author of this article is affiliated with the OAA.)
Indulgence Tea Bar owner Raj Batth said he has mixed feelings about e-scooters in the neighborhood.
Batth has used them downtown and likes the convenience, maneuverability and requirement that the e-scooters get secured to bike racks or other street furniture between uses. However, he has concerns about people using them while intoxicated, on sidewalks or without helmets.
Scoot does not know how widely its e-scooters will be used in Ingleside but expects them to be popular based on the response of users in other neighborhoods.
“This is our first major deployment into the area, and we understand that it will take some time for neighbors to give them a try,” Walsh said.
Scoot has a plan to reach out to the neighborhood.
“Scoot intends to market our scooters in a number of ways, including through direct community outreach,” Walsh said. “We will also promote our discounted Community Plan for qualified riders, including neighbors who qualify as low income, employees of 501(c)(3) organizations, teachers, students 18 years or over, veterans and seniors.”
Scoot and its competitors are aiming to become the last-mile transportation for public transit riders and an alternative to personal vehicle travel.
“Car congestion is a huge problem for everyone in San Francisco, and Scoot is a great alternative to fighting traffic to get to work, BART, etc,” Walsh said. “Short trips around the neighborhood are also perfect for Scooting.”