The District Department of Transportation has cut the number of scooter operators in the District in half for next year, granting permits to just four dockless scooter companies: Jump, Lyft, Skip, and Spin.
That means that four scooter operators that currently have thousands of vehicles on D.C. streets will no longer be able to operate in the District next year. Say goodbye to Bird, Lime, Razor, and Bolt scooters (the latter are part of Usain Bolt’s mobility company).
DDOT announced its decision on Tuesday. It’s in line with the new permit applications the agency released for public comment back in October and confirmed the following month: up to 10,000 scooters would be permitted for 2020, a near 60 percent increase from the previous limit, but only four scooter operators would be granted permits.
But even if the pared down number of operators isn’t surprising, it will likely come as a shock to many dedicated scooter-riders to hear exactly which companies they’re losing. Some of the companies DDOT left out have had a huge presence in the District from the very beginning of its dockless vehicle pilot program, most notably Lime. If you’ve walked around the city for any length of time over the last two years, you know precisely what those lime green scooters look like. Black Bird scooters have been equally ubiquitous.
As they’ve become increasingly popular, the scooters have become the center of some controversy around safety. Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced legislation earlier this year that would cap scooter speed at 10 miles per hour and prevented riders from using scooters at night (Cheh ultimately walked back the latter regulation). Scooter operator Skip (which received a permit) was suspended for a few months this year after a scooter caught fire on the sidewalk and other fires occurred in the company’s downtown warehouse. (In another incident, a Skip scooter literally exploded in a resident’s backyard.)
DDOT also approved two dockless electric bike operators for next year: HelBiz (a new operator for the District) and Jump, which is the only company that will be operating both bikes and scooters in the city.
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