Coming in 2019: Thousands of new dockless bikes, scooters

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Keegan Mullen | Senior Staff Photographer

The District Department of Transportation plans to issue 10 permits to companies that operate dockless vehicles next year, allowing for up to 6,000 vehicles – more than double the current cap of 2,400.

The District Department of Transportation will more than double the number of dockless bikes and scooters on D.C. streets in 2019.

DDOT plans to issue 10 permits to companies that operate dockless vehicles next year, allowing for up to 6,000 vehicles in the nation’s capital. Currently, the District’s dockless vehicle cap is 2,400, according to a DDOT press release Friday.

“DDOT is pleased with the quality and number of dockless operators for the 2019 program,” DDOT Director Jeff Marootian said in the release. “With our requirements on affordability and equity, we have created new choices for residents in all eight wards while fostering a landscape of competition among operators that will reward the most innovative, safe and efficient providers of dockless bikes and scooters.”

DDOT officials could also issue up to six more permits by March 1 pending the clarification of some technical and operational details in operators’ permit applications. City officials could expand the electric vehicle cap to 16,800 by the end of 2019 if the operators abide by performance standards in categories like ridership, parking and safety, according to the release.

All 12 potential vehicle operators have also agreed to offer unlimited free 30-minute rides to residents who make at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The operators will also allow users to pay with cash and rent vehicles if they do not own smartphones, according to the release.

The District first piloted the dockless vehicle program in September 2017 and received mixed responses from local community members. After the pilot period ended earlier this year, city officials increased each company’s vehicle cap from 400 to 600 in November.

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