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Baltimore Awards Permits To 3 Providers Of E-Scooters And E-Bikes

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Three companies have been given dockless vehicle permits to rent e-scooters and e-bikes in Baltimore until June 2023, Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore City Department of Transportation director Steve Sharkey said Tuesday.

Spin and LINK by Superpedestrian had their permits for e-scooters renewed, with the latter company offering seated e-scooters and vehicles for people with special mobility needs, the city said.

Bird is bringing its e-scooters, now branded in silver and blue, back to the city, along with an expanded fleet of e-bikes, officials said.

"The city's Dockless Vehicle Program affirms my commitment to providing equitable and accessible transportation options for the residents of Baltimore," said Scott. "The selection of three dockless vehicle providers will maximize benefits for our residents and empower Baltimoreans to use multimodal transportation options citywide as we continue to integrate creative solutions for improved mobility."

The permits begin on July 1 and are active until June 30, 2023, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Another company, Lime, was dropped after being one of the first four providers in the city's program, along with Bolt, Spin and Jump.

In June 2021, the city announced it was issuing new permits to Lime, Spin and Link.

Drew Lake, general manager of Lime, said the company was "deeply disappointed" by the city's decision.

"Lime has a proven track record in Baltimore of going above and beyond the field to prioritize investments in creating an equitable program," said Lake.

Baltimore launched a pilot program for dockless vehicles in 2018, shortly after Bird scooters appeared on the streets. Since then, more than 5 million trips have been taken on dockless vehicles, and the Baltimore riders now average 120,000 trips a month, officials said.

"In the past year, low-income plan users have taken three times as many trips as the average rider," said Sharkey. "We also debuted new adaptive vehicles for use by residents with special mobility needs. The providers selected have given the best plans to keep this momentum going."

During this most recent round of bidding, applications "were scored using a strict rubric to assess how companies meet the needs of Baltimore City for a sustainable, safe and equitable transportation option," city officials said.

The transportation department has assigned parking spots for dockless vehicles across the city, and riders can get discounts for using them and courteously parking their vehicles.

Holders of dockless vehicle permits must follow city regulations on fleet size, equity of access, rider education, vehicle distribution, safety standards and data reporting, officials said.

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