Next year, Washington, D.C. may accept as many as 12 shared electric scooter operators, and currently six operators are participating in a pilot project that will continue until the end of 2018. This means that the number of dockless electric scooter on the streets of Washington may increase significantly.
The U.S. department of transportation (DDOT) said it received 16 applications from 12 companies during the 2019 dockless electric scooter permits application period, which ends Nov. 21.Under the new rules announced by DDOT earlier this month, companies will have to get permits for shared electric scooters. 12 companies applying permits:
"We are increasingly interested in companies seeking to expand or operate business in the region and are excited about the potential of these new modes of transportation to facilitate residents and visitors," Terry Owens, a spokesman for the department of transportation, said in a statement.
Owens said DDOT was reviewing the applications and would announce the results "in the coming weeks." Each new permit will allow a company to offer up to 600 Shared electric scooters in Washington, so in theory, if each company gets the license it requires, a total of 9,600 vehicles (3,000 bicycles plus 6,600 scooters) will be allowed on the roads early next year.
Currently, Jump, a unit of Bird, Skip, Spin, Lime, Lyft and Uber, has dockless shared electric scooters deployed in the region. Jump is the only one deploying e-bikes, and the other five operators currently offer mainly electric scooters. During the pilot period, each of the two companies' vehicles, whether bicycles, scooters or both, was limited to 400.
A recent FAQ from the agency said: "after carefully considering the use of historical caps and observing best practices in other cities, DDOT has established an initial cap for each permit." The new regulations for dockless shared electric scooters will take effect in January, and if approved by DDOT, operators will be able to expand their fleets of electric scooters and bicycles by 25% on a quarterly basis. Electric scooters will be limited to 10 miles per hour, while electric bicycles will be limited to 20 miles per hour.
Many of the companies involved in the pilot project complained that the rules would prohibit the development of non-car modes of transportation in the area and make it difficult for scooters to be distributed evenly throughout the city. Some said the 600 pcs limitation was too strict, while others criticized the 10-mph speed limit on electric scooters as baseless.
The scooter operator Bird wrote a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser on November 11 that the cap on the size of the fleet eliminates the fairness of the plan, solves the problem of urban traffic deserts and ultimately the possibility of getting more cars on the road. After the rules were introduced, Bird, Spin and Jump all said they were worried about the speed limit.
This week, New York City legislators introduced bills to legalize shared electric bicycles and shared electric scooters.
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