DC proposes rules, fees for companies renting out dockless bikes, scooters

WASHINGTON — The District wants to set down new rules for companies that rent out dockless bikes and scooters in the city, and charge them fees for the first time.

It’s part of an effort to turn what began as an experimental pilot program last year into a permanent one.

Under proposed regulations announced Friday: Every bike must come with a lock; operating companies must have at least six vehicles in each ward of the city by 6 a.m., and every company must have a toll-free number and website where people can report bikes and scooters that are parked where they shouldn’t be.

The fee for a company to get a permit to operate in the city would be $2,000 per month through the end of 2018. Starting in January, companies would be required to pay $250 a year plus an additional annual fee for each vehicle in their fleet. The per-vehicle fee would range from $5 to $60 depending on the month in which a given bike or scooter goes into operation. The earlier in the year, the bigger the fee.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, companies would also be required to pay an application fee of $50 per permit and a technology fee of $25 per permit.

Each company also would have to put down a refundable deposit to cover the city’s costs in case the rules aren’t followed. That deposit, which would be good for one year, would be $5,000 if paid before the end of 2018. On Jan. 1, 2019, it would increase to $10,000.

The city wants your feedback on the plan, and you have until Nov. 26 to submit written comments to publicspace.policy@dc.gov.

Right now, five companies — Bird, Jump, Lime, Lyft, Skip and Spin — operate dockless vehicles in the District.

According to the D.C. Department of Transportation, people have taken more than 940,000 trips on dockless bikes and scooters since the pilot program launched in September 2017.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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