The Baltimore City Department of Transportation is officially releasing a permit application for dockless vehicle companies to operate in the city.
The city will select up to four companies that operate ebikes and escooters that can be unlocked via app, and don’t require a station for parking. The permits will run for one year, and start in August. Applications are due by July 24.
Currently, four companies operate in the city as part of its pilot: Lime, Bird, Spin and JUMP. But the application opens up a competitive process where those and other companies will have a chance to apply.
“This competitive application process reflects highly on BCDOT’s promise to create a space where dockless vehicle companies can demonstrate their capacity to serve and increase transportation options for all citizens and visitors of Baltimore City,” said Acting Transportation Director Steve Sharkey, who was appointed to the role earlier this week. “We will ultimately award permits to companies which can work with the City to provide more access to equitable transportation for everyone.”
The application states companies will be scored based on the following areas: vehicle types and features, maintenance, operations, education and equity plans, local hiring, data protection and sustainability.
The release of the permit application marks the next step in the process of regulating the dockless transportation options. After the city opted for a pilot program and shut down its station-based bikeshare, the city collected feedback and the City Council passed legislation surrounding the escooters and ebikes earlier this year. Rules and regulations were then introduced, and opened up for a public comment period.
According to a report on the public comments, the city received 69 comments from the general public, as well as public potential permit applicants, national groups and local stakeholder groups.
As a result of the comments, DOT said it is making changes to rules in areas such as how education info must be displayed, public API posting and security for a certain type of data coming into the city.-30-
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