Uber Wants To Be The Uber Of Scooters — And They'll Be All Over LA Sidewalks Soon

Uber's Jump scooters and e-bikes are coming to sidewalks near you very soon. (Sue Carpenter/LAist)

More scooters are coming.

The city of Los Angeles has accepted applications from seven electric scooter and bicycle companies and has just started granting provisional permits for them to operate within L.A.

The city is authorizing Bird, Lime, Razor, Lyft, Uber and a handful of other companies to roll out 3,000 dockless electric scooters apiece, according to Marcel Porras, chief sustainability officer for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Many of those scooters are expected to show up in L.A. over the holidays. And by next year, their numbers could increase — to 10,500 vehicles per company.

Uber was the first company to get one of the new city permits. Earlier this month, the company expanded its Jump electric scooter and e-bicycle program from Santa Monica, where it's been operating since Oct. 1, to the Sawtelle, Mar Vista and Palms neighborhoods. Soon, it will push them further into L.A., including downtown, the east side and other, as yet undecided places based on existing Uber data.

Earlier this month, Uber expanded its Jump electric scooter and e-bicycle program from Santa Monica, where it's been operating since Oct. 1. (Sue Carpenter/LAist)

To figure out where the electric bikes and scooters will be placed throughout the city, Uber is also looking at areas where traffic congestion is bad and where bicycle infrastructure already exists.

"This expansion is part of our plan to bring multimodal transportation into our app to tackle personal car ownership," said Megan Prichard, general manager for Uber's Jump brand electric bikes and scooters in Southern California.


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"We think the more options you can provide out there for Angelenos, the easier you make it for them to cheat on their car," Porras said.

Scooters have become a hot-button issue in cities across the U.S. as local governments scramble to catch up with regulation and promote them as a way to increase mobility in congested streets. Many residents and business owners have been critical of the zippy two-wheelers, citing unsafe riding, disregard for traffic laws and irresponsible parking.

Santa Monica and Long Beach have already started pilot programs to see how residents and commuters there will use the devices.

But not all cities have grabbed the handle bars. Both Beverly Hills and West Hollywood voted to ban scooters from cruising their streets (well, more likely sidewalks).