Ride-share company Lyft launched roughly 250 e-scooters today, bringing the total number in operation to 9,750, based on the latest figure provided by the city of San Antonio.
The San Francisco-based company was granted a permit to operate 2,000 e-scooters before a moratorium was placed at the city level in late January, a spokeswoman with the Center City Development and Operations (CCDO) department said in an email this week. On Tuesday, the Heron requested a copy of the permit granted to Lyft, but the city has not yet provided it.
Overall, there are permits for 16,100 dockless vehicles in San Antonio. Bird holds the most with a permit for 4,500 e-scooters. Jump, which holds a permit for 4,000 rides, is the only company to introduce dockless e-bikes to the market. Blue Duck, the only local company among the seven operating in San Antonio, holds a permit for the lease amount at 100.
Dockless vehicle total
The city of San Antonio has issued permits for 16,100 dockless vehicles for mostly e-scooters to seven companies so far.
» Jump—4,000 (2,000 e-scooters, 2,000 e-bikes)
» Blue Duck—100
On Jan. 22, the council’s Transportation Committee placed a moratorium on issuing dockless vehicle permits for the pilot program that ends April 19. During that meeting, CCDO Director John Jacks told council members Lyft had applied for its permit the week before, but he made no mention of his department granting the permit.
The agenda item for the Transportation Committee meeting did not list Lyft as one of the companies cleared to operate.
On the agenda for the City Council meeting on Feb. 14, when the body approved tighter e-scooter restrictions, as well as ratified the Transportation Committee’s cap, Lyft is listed among other operators as being “under review.”
During a presentation give to the Council at that meeting, Jacks’ presentation shows Lyft as one of the operating dockless vehicle companies, and said that Lyft had been permitted, but had not yet launched.
At a press conference this morning, a Lyft spokeswoman said the company was working closely with the city to identify potential spots to place its own scooter docks, and will cooperate in providing data that the city may request on ridership patterns.
“We’re also not just focussing our first 250 downtown here,” said Carolina Samponaro, Lyft’s head of public policy. “We’re also looking at the transit corridors and (we’re) particularly trying to reach the low income communities as a start.”
Lyft has made available a low-income membership program called the “community pass,” for $5 a month, Samponaro said, but she didn’t know what qualifies someone for the pass.
In response to complaints of reckless riding and crowded sidewalks, the council added a handful of regulations on Valentine’s Day, which include limiting e-scooter ridership from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Also, city workers, ambassadors with Centro San Antonio, and other “partners” can remove illegally parked scooters without warning the companies, and for special events, and construction or maintenance work.
At the meeting, council members alluded to more regulations, potentially a concession system where a limited number of operators would be chosen, instead of the current free-for-all.
CCDO recently began marking scooter parking on sidewalks using stencil, and the department is exploring converting metered spots into scooter “corrals,” which would include some type of barrier to enclose the rides.
Currently, dockless vehicles are prohibited in Alamo Plaza, La Villita, Main Plaza, Market Square, the River Walk, and all city parks.
The city is also gathering feedback from the public through its SASpeaksUp website. At the Feb. 14 Council meeting, Jacks said
Since Jan. 12, anyone with the city’s 311 app can report scooter parking violations. Last week, CCDO spokeswoman said there had been 398 reported violations on the app from Jan. 12 to Feb. 14, and 612 reported in total (including calls).
Reporter Gaige Davila contributed to this report.