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Dockless E-Scooters, Expanded E-Bikes Program Wheel into Montgomery County on June 1

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

With dockless bikes and e-bikes having been tested and enjoyed in several areas of Montgomery County, MCDOT announces the expansion of the program to a broader portion of the County, while also testing the introduction of dockless e-scooters. MCDOT will conduct a demonstration project with three selected companies to deploy dockless e-scooters and e-bikes at no cost to the County.  The demonstration project will kick-off with free e-scooter training sessions for county residents on June 1 and run for six months with an option for extension.

Lyft will provide e-scooters in the East County Service Area; Bird will provide e-scooters in the West County Service Area; and Lime will provide both e-bikes and e-scooters in both Service Areas.   Each company’s vehicles will be limited to operation within their geo-fenced service area.  All vendors require that riders be at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license.

“We are pleased to reach this exciting milestone in Montgomery County’s multi-modal transportation offerings,” said MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh. “Now residents in many areas can opt to use an e- scooter or electric assist bike to complete a leg of their commute, run errands or just enjoy themselves. We’ll be studying vehicle use closely and making adjustments as needed to ensure both safety and convenience.”

MCDOT has built numerous safeguards into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each company to ensure successful, safe and sustainable operation of dockless vehicle-sharing services within the County. These include performance measures like fleet size and condition, customer information and training on safe and appropriate operation of dockless vehicles, including information about appropriate parking locations, response time to service requests, privacy protection, deployment density limits, removal of dockless vehicles in violation of the parking requirements, a publicly-accessible application program interface and safety reports, among others.

The companies selected to participate signed an MOU with the County and provided insurance and a performance bond.  The companies are required to provide real-time operational data for County management and program analysis.

On June 1 in Rockville and Silver Spring, the companies will hold the first of their required monthly training sessions on e-scooters.  MCDOT encourages all e-scooter and e-bike riders to attend one of the free public training sessions and to wear a helmet when riding. Sidewalk riding of e-scooters and e-bikes is prohibited.  Access more information on e-scooter training sessions here.

Users won’t be limited to county streets. Montgomery Parks will also permit the use of e-bikes and e-scooters on certain Montgomery Parks hard surface trails including Rock Creek Trail, Sligo Creek Trail up to the Prince Georges County line, Matthew Henson Trail, Long Branch Trail and Northwest Branch Trail (the paved portion south of I-495, up to the Prince Georges County line).

Rather than relying on fixed stations to access the equipment, customers use a mobile app to locate a nearby dockless bike or e-scooter with GPS and unlock it.  When a customer completes a dockless bike or e-scooter trip, the bike or scooter must be parked within public right of way in accordance with the MOU. Two jurisdictions not participating in the program, Garrett Park and Washington Grove in the West Service Area, will be geo-fenced and a customer will either be unable to complete the trip in those areas or may receive a penalty, as determined by the dockless company. 

This is the third phase of Montgomery County’s pilot testing of dockless vehicles.  As the first suburban jurisdiction in the country with dockless bikeshare, Montgomery County already conducted a pilot test of dockless bikes in Silver Spring, Takoma Park and North Bethesda. The program serves the County’s goal of providing more transportation options that support a greener county.

General feedback about the demonstration project or about a specific company participating in the project is welcome. Send an email to mcdot.commuterservices@montgomerycountymd.gov, or contact MC311 online or by calling 311 from within Montgomery County or 240-777-0311 from outside the County (Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), or by following MC311 on Twitter @311MC311.

Release ID: 19-081
Media Contact: Maureen McNulty 240-777-7199