New York City-based Helbiz has officially moved into D.C. with a fleet of ebikes.
This expansion comes after the transportation company, founded in 2015, closed a $10 million investment round last August. With plans to put 2,000 ebikes on D.C. roads in the first half of this year, Helbiz began deploying an initial fleet on Jan. 30.
Though Helbiz operates in 20 cities worldwide, this is the company’s first deployment of its ebike vehicles: Other locations only have access to its escooters.
We are thrilled to announce our first fleet of US-built @helbizofficial e-bikes has officially arrived in DC! Take a ride today and explore all that Washington DC has to offer. #Helbiz #BikeDC #NowInDC pic.twitter.com/L8hZzmO6Jh
— Helbiz (@helbizofficial) January 30, 2020
Helbiz is one of only two companies — the other being Jump — that has been granted an ebike permit from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to operate in the District this year. With this permit, the companies can deploy as many as 2,500 ebikes each. These permits are part of DDOT’s dockless vehicle sharing program, which includes escooter permits for Lyft Scooter, Spin, Skip and Jump.
“We’re excited to help District residents and visitors get from point A to point B in a safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable way,” said Helbiz founder and CEO Salvatore Palella in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with Mayor Muriel Bowser, DDOT Director Jeff Marootian and through our various community programs, to help expand safe alternative mobility options and to grow the local economy, foster talent and develop career opportunities in the District.”
Since landing a permit, Helbiz has opened a D.C.-based office and warehouse to run its operations here. The company is also working on building up its team in the region and currently has a handful of job openings.
Helbiz reported in a press release that it plans to launch an apprenticeship program for people interested in the mobility industry in the region. District residents will also be able to work for Helbiz as “ward liasons” to help the company engage with various neighborhoods and provide driving safety education opportunities.
“Our e-bikes are proudly assembled in the United States, using innovative new materials and technologies to ensure a safe and comfortable ride throughout the District,” said Palella in a press release. “We look forward to being a part of everyone’s daily commutes and leisurely rides as we strive to make D.C. more eco-friendly and accessible.”
To help better serve low-income communities in the District, Helbiz will offer free and unlimited rides up to 30 minutes for qualified residents. This initiative is part of the Helbiz Access Program and will be open to residents enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Housing Choice Voucher Program and similar services.
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