Council Votes to Cut the Number of Scooter Companies in San Antonio and Keep Riders Off Sidewalks

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Expect to see a lot fewer folks scooting around San Antonio.

City council on Thursday voted to shrink the number of dockless scooter companies operating in the city from a current total of seven to just three. Those who remain will be decided by October following a competitive bidding process.

What's more, the new rules will limit the total number of rentable scooters in the city to 5,000 from a current estimate of more than 15,000. Users also will be banned from riding on sidewalks. The latter regulation goes into effect June 30.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg supported the new limits, but said the city's poor infrastructure planning — such as its dearth of wider pedestrian paths and bike lanes — contributed to the problem.

“What continues to come back to me is that this is our need for a market that drives innovation and transportation colliding with the fact that we’ve made really bad decisions about how to deal with our transportation infrastructure in the city,” he said.

Initially, San Antonio adopted a so-called "light touch" regulatory approach to the new technology, which advocates promised would help cut down on vehicle emissions and automobile traffic. However, it began imposing restrictions such as parking rules and curfews after injuries, clutter and complaints piled up.

District 2 Councilman Art Hall said the city is likely not through tinkering with the rules under which scooter companies operate.

"It may be a great mode of transportation, but it's just messy," he said.

The city will begin accepting bids from scooter companies next month. Those already operating can apply for permit extensions that will be good through September.

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