Santa Monica-based Bird is back in the news now that the city of San Francisco has decided to require that “last-mile” scooter-sharing companies apply for permits or face penalties.
Bird and competitors such as Bay Area-based Spin and LimeBike have been accused of starting up services in cities without licenses from local governments.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has given Bird and similar outfits until this June 4 to get their inventory off the streets, or risk fines of $100 per scooter per day and the potential for the city to impound the vehicles.
However, the city will not review applications for permits until June 7th, meaning the companies will have to shut down for an interim period before finding out if they’ve been approved to operate on San Francisco’s streets.
The situation follows a cease-and-desist letter sent by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera to the three companies in April.
The permitting process offers the last-mile services a chance to operate in compliance with regulations, city officials said.
“San Francisco supports transportation innovation, but it cannot come at the price of public safety,” Herrera said in a statement. “This permit program represents a thoughtful, coordinated and effective approach to ensure that San Francisco strikes the right balance. We can have innovation, but it must keep our sidewalks safe and accessible for all pedestrians. We can have convenience, but it can’t sacrifice privacy and equity along the way.”
Bird showed it can play nice in Austin, where it restarted operations last week after acquiring a permit, paying $29,000 in back fees, and registering its scooters. Austin officials had shut the company down temporarily due to concerns similar to those in San Francisco.
$100M More for Proterra
City of Industry-based electric bus maker Proterra Inc. raised $100 million in new funding, according to federal regulatory filings.
The investors have not yet been disclosed, though Proterra has previously raised money from Edison Energy, GM Ventures, Tao Capital and Kleiner Perkins. The new wave of capital puts the company’s value at $840 million, according to a filing with the state of Delaware and provided by Lagniappe Labs, creator of the Prime Unicorn Index.
Proterra raised money last year from Al Gore’s investment firm at a valuation of $500 million, and current customers include public transit agencies in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Metro & Musk
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently went on record with a statement of preliminary public support for Elon Musk’s efforts to move transportation underground through his Boring Co.’s tunnel project on the Westside.
“Metro leadership and CEO Phil Washington had a great meeting today with the talented staff of @boring_company,” according to a May 17 tweet on the Metro account. “They will coordinate with us as they move ahead with their proof of concept tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard to ensure it doesn’t interfere with our Sepulveda Transit Corridor rail project. We’ll be partners moving forward.”
Musk responded on Twitter: “Excited for @boringcompany partnership with LA Metro.”
What exactly that partnership entails is not yet clear, though a Boring Co. spokesperson said it will mainly involve efforts to coordinate the projects and ensure they complement each other.
Boring Co. is currently seeking an exemption from an environmental impact report.
Residents of Brentwood, where the tunnel would be located, have filed a lawsuit in a bid to ensure a full environmental study is made (see related story, page 1).
Allow me this chance to say thank you to all the entrepreneurs, industry executives and experts and other sources who have been so helpful to me as I took on the technology beat for the Los Angeles Business Journal.
An unexpected and exciting opportunity recently arose for me, and I have taken the post of director of public relations and communications for the Los Angeles Sparks franchise of the WNBA.
The intersection of sports, entertainment and technology means that we might very well cross paths again – and I hope that’s the case.
Please accept my thanks to the tech community in general and my colleagues at the Business Journal for the wonderful experience I’ve covering this dynamic segment of the economy.
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