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D.C. may cap how many scooter companies are allowed in the city

Four chosen companies would be able to provide up to 10,000 total scooters

An electric scooter is seen leaning on a chained fence.
A scooter in D.C.
Shutterstock

The number of electric scooter providers permitted in the District would decline to four from eight under new proposed rules that city transportation officials are considering. But each of the four companies would preliminarily be allowed to deploy up to 2,500 scooters, or a total of 10,000 scooters, up from the 6,210 vehicles that are currently allowed under the District’s program for dockless vehicles. This would represent an increase of approximately 61 percent.

Up to 10,000 dockless bikes would also be permitted in the city in 2020, according to the proposal, which was first reported by Greater Greater Washington. The regulations would raise the minimum number of scooters the companies would have to deploy daily, to 500 from 100, and restrict the maximum number of scooters the companies could offer in the city’s Central Business District, to 1,000 each. These provisions are meant to make shared electric scooters more accessible across the city, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) explains in the proposal. The companies would have to deploy at least 400 scooters throughout various “equity emphasis areas” comprising just over a quarter of the city’s size.

A map of a city subdivided into eight wards. The map shows areas shaded in yellow that are meant to represent areas where scooter access is lacking.
Proposed equity emphasis areas for D.C. scooters
District Department of Transportation

The equity zones are based on those where the D.C. region’s Transportation Planning Board identified “significant concentrations of low-income and or minority populations” last year. Additionally, the proposal changes how quickly dockless vehicle operators could grow their fleets in the District: With DDOT’s approval, they would potentially be able to double their fleet sizes twice per year. (Right now, firms can request 25 percent increases each quarter.) Public comments on the proposed rules are open through October 7, the department notes.