Expanding Mobility Options in San Francisco
Getting around San Francisco should be convenient, safe, affordable, and sustainable. People now have lots of ways to get around the City without relying on their cars, which is great, because we need to reduce our dependence on cars to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and meet our climate goals.
In the past few years, we’ve rolled out a brand new fleet of buses and trains to improve your Muni ride. At the same time, we’ve launched programs for bikes, scooters, and electric mopeds to provide even more options to meet people’s needs. Now, on a typical day in San Francisco, approximately 9,000 micromobility vehicles are available to the public, compared to approximately 1,000 back in 2017.
These additional sustainable modes of transportation provide convenient travel options and an alternative to driving. For example, someone who lives farther away from a Muni station but needs to get downtown for work can take a scooter or bike from their home to the station, drop it off and lock it up, and then take Muni into work. Alternatively, an electric moped can be a great option to quickly get across town.
Expanding our Scooter and Bikeshare Programs
Among all of the micromobility programs, our bikeshare and scooter programs continue to expand. Today, approximately 21,000 daily trips are completed on our bike and scooter programs, making them the fastest growing sustainable transportation mode and an important part of our effort to achieve our Transit First and climate change goals.
Last October, we issued permits to companies who met our qualifications to operate safe, reliable, and equitable scooter share programs. We started with 2,500 scooter permits, and expanded to 3,250 permits in December.
Today, we completed the last phase of our scooter permit rollout, bringing the total number of scooter permits to 4,000. This expansion pairs closely with our continued rollout of bikeshare. By April of this year, there will be over 7,000 electric and pedal bicycles permitted in the City.
This expansion will make micromobility work better for San Franciscans by providing more coverage across the City and making it easier for people to find a scooter or bike when they need one, whether that’s to get to work, school, run errands, or meet up with friends. With this expansion, 95% of San Francisco residents are now within a 5-minute walk to a publicly accessible bikeshare or scooter, covering, 77% of the city.
Ensuring Micromobility Works for Everyone
While I am excited about the benefits of these programs, we need to ensure it doesn’t cause safety issues for others trying to get around the city. This means keeping pedestrians on the sidewalk safe, and ensuring parked bikes and scooters are not blocking people’s paths.
When scooters first landed on San Francisco’s streets in April 2018, we received over 1,100 complaints via 311. However, since we’ve launched and refined our permit program, those complaints have plummeted. In January 2020, we received a total of 138 complaints, down 66% from last year when factoring for the number of scooters actually on the street.
The SFMTA enforcement team has been out on the streets to make sure scooters and bikes are parked correctly, and has been working with companies to make sure they have systems in place to ensure appropriate parking and locking. Over the coming months, we’ll be continuing our efforts to educate the public about proper scooter and bike use, and hope that the number of complaints continues to decline.
We’re excited to see what micromobility can do for our city and how it can help us achieve our City’s transportation policy goals and climate goals. The progress we’re making with bikes and scooters is great, but we still have more work to do to deliver the right infrastructure so people can feel safe riding anywhere in San Francisco. This is why the expansion of these programs go hand in hand with my goal of delivering 20 more miles of protected bike lanes and increasing car-free spaces like Octavia Boulevard near Patricia’s Green and Market Street. We are also expanding bicycle parking, with over 300 new racks installed since November 2019, and more coming.
We also know that micromobility doesn’t fit everyone’s needs — whether due to ability, distance to travel, or even the weather — and that a lot of people depend on Muni to get around. So we’ll also keep up our efforts to make the transit system more efficient and reliable, by implementing recommendations from the Muni Working Group, including hiring more operators and reducing vehicle congestion.
We are committed to delivering a safe, equitable, and reliable transportation system. We’ll monitor this latest rollout and keep looking for ways to improve the system to make sure it’s working well for everyone in San Francisco.