SFMTA launches pilot program to test adaptive scooters for people with disabilities

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will start four unique adaptive scooter pilot programs Jan. 15, 2020, with a total of 50 adaptive scooters available from the permitted scooter operators Jump, Lime, Scoot and Spin.

This pilot follows SFMTA’s previous participation in last summer’s adaptive bike-share pilot, which led to SFMTA requiring all permitted scooter operators to develop an adaptive scooter pilot program to make micromobility more accessible to people with disabilities.

SFMTA says a program of this kind is new, so it and did not require applicants to deploy a specific vehicle type or service model. Rather, permittees were instructed to develop vehicles and corresponding services that are based on input from people with disabilities.

From the pilots, SFMTA says it hopes to better understand the device types, fleet sizes and program models that will best fit the needs of a diverse group of riders with disabilities who have not had access to the standard shared scooter program. Permittees are expected to actively solicit input and feedback on their pilots and iterate on their initial vehicle and program designs in order to best meet community needs. SFMTA’s learnings throughout the pilot will help to inform any permanent program or requirements moving forward.

In addition to providing equal access to all services, SFMTA says it is always committed to ensuring that scooters and other shared micromobility vehicles do not endanger pedestrians or otherwise hamper accessibility of the streets and sidewalks, and that it is closely monitoring operator performance so that it can enforce and, when needed, void operator contracts. SFMTA’s enforcement team is out in the field tracking scooter activity and responding to complaints. Investigators cite shared scooters that do not comply with parking guidelines and notify scooter companies of sidewalk riding. Permittees must investigate and resolve all sidewalk riding reports. SFMTA is also working with 311 to improve processes and make it easier for the public to make complaints about both improper parking and riding.

SFMTA says it plans on hosting formal opportunities for feedback during the mid-point of the pilot. In the meantime, people may submit a comment through the Regulated and Emerging Mobility Comment Form or through 311. And, if people are a resident or regular visitor to San Francisco and have a disability, SFMTA encourages them to complete a survey on their experiences, perceptions and priorities around emerging mobility services.