The city is awarding permits for dockless e-scooter and e-bike companies to operate in Baltimore, and it’s bringing one new company to town.
Bolt, where Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is a cofounder, will be among the scooters being offered. Lime, Spin and JUMP, which have all been operating in the city through a piloting program, were also selected to receive yearlong permits.
Bird, which had the first escooters to land in the city last year, was not selected, according to the department of transportation.
“This dockless program affirms my commitment to providing equitable and accessible transportation options for the residents of Baltimore City,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said in a statement. “We are creating new and sustainable mobility choices that are efficient for Baltimore residents and all those who visit our great city.”
With the operating permits awarded, the pilot program that began in August 2018 is now complete. Since that time, the transportation department evaluated the program, and the City Council passed rules and regulations surrounding the program. The city opened up permit applications last month, and said it received seven applications.
But it ended up going with — mainly — the companies that are already on the ground.
The city said the applications were scored by a committee made up of representatives from the transportation department, the Mayor’s Office of Performance and Innovation, the law department and the department of planning.
“The committee used a strict rubric to score applications based on the needs of Baltimore City for a safe, equitable, and successful program,” per a Department of Transportation a statement.
Bolt also recently launched in D.C. Along with the nine-time Olympic gold medalist, former Georgetown University School of Medicine Professor Dr. B. Sarah Haynes is a cofounder and co-CEO of the company. In an interview with Yahoo! Finance, Haynes said safety was a key factor in the design of the scooters. Upon launch in March, the company said its scooters stand out from others with parallel footpads that allow a rider to have both feet facing forward and a lower center of gravity.
“As a woman who has children and focuses on neuropsychology, I wanted to make sure that our product was the safest on the market,” she told Yahoo! Finance.
To go along with e-scooters, Lime and JUMP will also be planning to operate e-bikes.
For its part, Bird said it plans to follow up with the city.
“Baltimore residents, community groups, and local businesses have made clear that they enjoy our service and want Bird as an option in the city,” a spokesperson said. “We were surprised and disappointed to learn of BDOT’s decision and look forward to discussing it with them further so we can continue to provide Baltimore visitors and residents our micro-mobility alternative that is backed by unmatched operational experience and commitment to safety.”-30-