With Permits Granted, Hundreds of E-Scooters Are Hitting Portland Streets Later This Week

The city has formally issued its first two permits to companies Skip and Bird.

Skip scooter (courtesy Skip)

The scooters are here.

Portland Bureau of Transportation has begun issuing permits for the city's four-month electronic scooter pilot program, and says Portlanders could expect to see scooters on the street as soon as this week.

An announcement from the agency this afternoon lists Skip and Bird as the first two companies to receive permits.

Dylan Rivera, a PBOT spokesperson, says roughly half a dozen scooter companies applied for the pilot program, and that there will likely be "hundreds of scooters on city streets by next week."

The city has capped the total number of scooters permitted during the four-month period at 2,500. Individual companies will be able to deploy up to 200 scooters in their first week of operation.

Martha Shaughnessy, a spokesperson for Skip, tells WW that starting next week, "Skip will launch with an initial fleet of 200 ramping up to 500 as permitted by PBOT."

Lime—which has been hiring in Portland since March and appears to be prepared with a large fleet in a warehouse space on Southeast Glisan—was surprisingly not on the city's starting roster.

Related: E-Scooters Debut in Portland? City Hall Says It's Just a Tech Glitch

Scooter companies will be allowed to operate in Portland until November 20, at which time PBOT will conduct a study "to determine whether scooters are compatible with the safe, efficient and equitable operation of Portland's transportation system."

Reviews of e-scooters in California have been mixed, to put it generously.

"This is a rapidly changing industry, and we wanted to be flexible and nimble in setting up this pilot," interim transportation director Chris Warner said in a statement. "Portlanders will now have a chance to try this new way of getting around, and we'll have the opportunity to see if scooters work in Portland and help us meet our safety, mobility, equity and climate action goals."

PBOT is still in the process of issuing permits to companies that qualify. Until then, it says riders must abide by a few rules—such as wearing helmets, not riding on sidewalks, not parking scooters in the middle of sidewalks, and not using scooters in city parks.

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