By Carlo Versano
A day after his company launched as one of two official electric scooter providers in San Francisco, Skip CEO Sanjay Dastoor said the operation has been a smooth ride so far.
Dastoor told Cheddar Tuesday the company has seen a "really positive, really happy response, not just from the riders, but from the city and from the non-riders as well.”
Skip and Scoot each deployed roughly 600 scooters onto San Francisco streets early on Monday morning. There were also teams of "Skip Scouts" who handed out helmets and fielded questions from first-time riders and curious passersby. It was a notable departure from last spring, when electric scooters seemingly appeared overnight without the blessing of the city, drawing the ire of residents and officials alike.
Neither Skip nor Scoot participated in the rag-tag spring launch, which presumably helped their case when they lobbied the SFMTA for official permits this summer. The companies were chosen as the exclusive scooter providers for San Francisco's first sanctioned pilot because of the cooperation they offered the city in sharing mobility data and the strict safety measures they promised to adopt.
That's no accident, as Dastoor explained. "We’ve taken a lot of the learnings from Washington, D.C., and in Portland where we’ve seen such a positive response to scooter sharing and brought those here."
To prepare for the launch, the San Francisco-based company worked on community outreach and education programs ー both in-person and through its app ー to improve the poor rider etiquette of earlier launches.
There were anecdotes of bad scooter manners reported on launch day, though Dastoor said he expected those to smooth out as residents get used to seeing Skip's blue-and-gold scooters on the streets.
He added that new technology, like tip-over detection and locking mechanisms, will allow people to park their scooters more effectively, stay off sidewalks, and "just be better citizens when they're riding scooters."
The effectiveness of that courtesy campaign will help determine whether San Francisco ultimately raises the cap on the number of scooters allowed in the city.
Dastoor said the company is focusing on customer satisfaction, rather than simply growing those numbers.
"I think the question isn’t whether that cap is going to increase ー we all want it to ー I think the question is can we do it in a way where you see a community saying this is working for us?"
Bird, Lime, and Spin, the scooter companies that stormed San Francisco earlier this year, remain banned in the city.
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