Baltimore city’s program to test out dockless transportation got an extension this week and will put a couple new brands of escooters and ebikes on the street.
According to the Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT), Spin and JUMP will be joining Bird and Lime in the pilot program. JUMP joins Lime as a provider of both escooters and ebikes.
“JUMP bikes and scooters provide affordable, environmentally friendly transportation solutions. We look forward to working with the City of Baltimore to provide more transportation options,” said Susan Hendrick, federal communications lead for Uber, which acquired JUMP in 2018.
Spin is taking what D.C., Maryland and Virginia Regional Manager Dan Winston called a “measured” approach that will help it learn how to best serve the community, and will initially deploy 80 scooters. The company plans to expand after launch and is planning a facility that employs drivers, mechanics and operations specialists.
“Baltimore is a walkable city, and has recently been expanding infrastructure for bikes. So we think it will be a successful market for smaller electric vehicles like scooters,” Winston said.
Meanwhile, the process of regulation for the electric transportation options that don’t require a station and are unlocked via app remains ongoing. The companies are operating as part of a pilot program with the City that was put in place after the City ended its station-based bikeshare program. Along with regulating how companies operate, it’s designed to help the City gather data.
Initially, the pilot program was put in place for six months, expiring at the end of February. This week, City Council introduced legislation to make the program permanent — but it has yet to be approved, so the pilot program was extended through April 30.
The City has also been collecting data, and DOT indicated that results of a safety study from the health department and a survey of 5,000 people so far have been positive; Baltimore Business Journal has a deep dive into the survey results here. A complete evaluation is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
Adding vehicles from the two new companies as warmer weather comes will provide more chances to collect data and evaluate the market, DOT stated.
“Extending the pilot program, and adding new operators, is a strong statement of support from the City for creative solutions to our transit challenges,” Jon Laria, chair of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Commission, said in a statement. “I’m optimistic we’ll have good legislation in place this spring, which will allow us to further expand our fleet of dockless bikes and scooters.”-30-
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