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Baltimore Looks to Add Electric Scooter, Bike Provider

The city’s Department of Transportation has opened its application portal for companies to submit bids on providing electric scooters, electric bikes or other dockless vehicles for public use.

Facing into the sun, a young man unlocks an electric scooter with his mobile phone.
(TNS) — Baltimore’s Department of Transportation has opened its application portal for companies to place their bids to provide electric scooters, electric bikes and other dockless vehicles for public use in the city.

Baltimore City grants up to three dockless vehicle permits per annual cycle and has already renewed a permit for Spin, a San Francisco-based micro-mobility company, to bring back its e-scooters, according to a city news release. Spin got the contract based on community rankings and compliance with the city’s guidelines and standards.

Baltimore is looking to add only one more company this cycle, Marly Cardona-Moz, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, said in an emailed statement.

Regulations added last year require permit-holders to keep a local fleet of between 150 and 1,000, which can include any combination of permitted dockless vehicles

“The Baltimore City Department of Transportation scores applications using a strict technical rubric,” Cardona-Moz said. She said companies that have previously applied and operated in the city are welcome to apply again.

Vendors must provide the specifications, safety certificates, deployment plan and changes to operations or maintenance plans for their vehicles to get approval.

The competitive process began May 12 with an application deadline of May 29. Recipients will be notified June 7 with the permits becoming active July 1.

E-scooter company Bird lost its permit in August to operate through June 2024 because the company received four citations during the 2022-23 permit year. The Department of Transportation did not say what the citations were, though Bird received a copy, Cardona-Moz said.

Companies have the opportunity to appeal if they feel citations were given unfairly or if they can demonstrate that the data was incorrect for some reason, she said.

The transportation department observes permitted companies twice a month. Vendors receive a warning if a violation of any regulations is found, and after two warnings, they get a citation.

Bird losing its permit left the city with Spin and LINK by Superpedestrian as the only two providers at the time. In December, San Francisco’s LINK ceased operations in the United States, Cardona-Moz said.

Bird has maintained an exclusive fleet in Annapolis since 2022, and the company started to expand in Anne Arundel County.

The Miami-based company came to Baltimore in 2018 as the city’s bike-sharing program shut down, causing officials to create regulations for e-scooters. Bird did not get a permit in 2019.

Lime, a shared electrical vehicle company, is looking to return to Baltimore this summer with improved e-bikes and scooters after losing its permit in 2022, the company said.

“Lime’s application did not score high enough to be awarded a permit in 2022,” Cardona-Moz said.

The company said it’s working to come back with improved hardware for both the scooters and e-bikes. Lime now has seated scooters, as well as high-visibility reflectors.

“Lime has never stopped dreaming of returning to Baltimore since we were last here … ” Lime said in a news release. “If we are given the opportunity to return we are confident riders and everyone else in Baltimore will notice from day one that this is a new improved micromobility. ”

Lime had accounted for 414,000 riders taking nearly 2.8 million rides traveling nearly 3 million miles from 2017 to 2022, Lime said in the release.

©2024 Baltimore Sun, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.