Santa Monica

Santa Monica Launches Its Electric Scooter Pilot Program

Bird, Lime, Lyft and Jump join Breeze Bike Share in a 16-month pilot program

Santa Monica launched its electric scooter program Monday, with private companies Bird, Lime, Lyft and Jump joining the existing Breeze Bike Share system to add another transportation option for residents.

Under the 16-month pilot 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. Lyft and Jump -- which is owned by Uber -- 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. 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, 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,'' city Planning Director David Martin said.

The pilot program will not affect the operation of the Breeze system, 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 earlier 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.

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