Montgomery County will give e-scooters a try

WASHINGTON — Montgomery County, which has an agreement with electric bike operator Lime for its dockless bikes in Silver Spring, Takoma Park and North Bethesda, will give electric scooters a shot and expand its dockless experiment across the Maryland county.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is soliciting other dockless bike and scooter companies to submit proposals. It will choose up to four companies, and says it will give priority to dockless companies that can deploy both dockless e-bikes and e-scooters.

This latest demonstration project will start in March and run for at least six months, but may be extended.

MCDOT has established a series of requirements for dockless companies that apply, regarding fleet size, customer safety training, privacy protection and parking requirements. It will require companies to provide operational data on the riders who use them for its own program analysis.

Companies selected will be required to provide a $10,000 performance bond.

A December MCDOT report on the initial pilot said during a six-month period riders took 18,000 trips. It also noted 15 percent of those trips ended outside of the pilot boundaries.

It also noted 7 percent of Lime’s bikes used during a six-week observation period were parked inappropriately.

In Alexandria, Virginia, Lime became the first to win approval for its electric scooters and bikes as part of a nine-month pilot program.

Dockless bikes are now operating by way of formal agreements in D.C. and Virginia’s Arlington County as well.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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