Santa Monica Taps 4 Firms for Electric Scooter, Bicycle Operations

SANTA MONICA (CNS) - The city of Santa Monica selected four companies today -- including Lime and Bird -- to take part in its pilot program for the operation of dockless electric scooters and other shared-mobility devices in the city.

A city committee had earlier recommended against including Lime and Bird in the pilot project, leading to protests by some scooter users and the firms, which deactivated the devices in the city for a day.

But in the final selection announced Thursday by city planning director David Martin, four companies were selected -- popular scooter providers Lime and Bird, along with ride-hailing service Lyft and a fourth firm known as Jump, which is owned by the ride-hailing service Uber.

"The selected companies bring a wide range of local, national and international experience that will contribute to a comprehensive and informative pilot program,” Martin said in a statement. ``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.”

The 16-month pilot program is scheduled to begin Sept. 17. Under the program, each of the companies will be limited to operating 750 devices in Santa Monica. For Bird and Lime, all 750 devices will be electric scooters. Jump and Lyft were allocated 250 scooters each, along with 500 bicycles each.

City officials said the number of allowable devices could vary depending on their use and performance.

The pilot program will not affect the operation of the Breeze bike-sharing system in Santa Monica, which has 500 bikes available for rent and 86 docking stations.

According to the city, the companies chosen to participate in the pilot program must pay a base operator fee of $20,000, along with a per-device fee of $130 per year.

The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday voted to impose a "public right-of-way fee” assessed on shared-mobility devices. The fee is $1 per day per device, with the money earmarked for ``improvements like expanding sidewalks, green lanes and other changes that make walking, biking, scooter riding and moving around Santa Monica easier and safer.”

The council also voted to ban electric or motorized vehicles such as scooters, bikes, skateboards and Segways on the city's portion of the beach bike path, on the Santa Monica Pier and in municipal parks.

Photo: Getty Images 

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