Skip to main content

Press Releases

Montgomery County Expands Dockless Electric Vehicle Options with Return of Capital Bikeshare E-Bikes and Expanded E-Scooter Pilot Program

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Montgomery County increased its travel options today with the launch of new dockless e-bikes in the Capital Bikeshare network. In addition, this week the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) expanded its pilot program for e-scooters to include the company Spin and announced plans to expand the service area for all e-scooters to include the City of Gaithersburg. 

Lyft, the operator of Capital Bikeshare, deployed a small fleet of e-bikes across the region today. E-bikes will be deployed in each of the seven Washington area Capital Bikeshare member jurisdictions, including Montgomery County. Going forward, e-bike distribution will be determined based on demand and ridership patterns across the Bikeshare system. It is expected that the fleet of e-bikes available across the entire Capital Bikeshare region will expand to about 900 in August.

The e-bikes deployed today are all entirely new and include enhanced features to address concerns from users during a previous pilot program in 2018.

E-bikes will display in the Capital Bikeshare app and on the system map at capitalbikeshare.com with a lightning bolt icon to differentiate them from a classic pedal bike. E-bikes are a hybrid of “docked” and “dockless,” meaning they can be found either at docking stations or locked to appropriate public infrastructure. The e-bikes can be accessed with a Capital Bikeshare key or by using the Capital Bikeshare app or website.

Riders can reserve an e-bike through the Capital Bikeshare app 15 minutes prior to starting a trip. Rides must be ended with e-bikes placed in a Capital Bikeshare docking station or locked to a public bike rack or appropriate public infrastructure. E-bike riders will be charged a $2 fee each time they unlock an e-bike and a $1 additional fee if the e-bike is parked in a location other than a Capital Bikeshare docking station. A fee of $25 will apply if an e-bike is left or locked outside of the defined dockless service area that is displayed on the website and the app.

In addition to e-bikes, e-scooter availability in the County is also expanding. The companies Bird, Lime and Lyft signed agreements with MCDOT to rent e-scooters in the County’s Dockless Vehicle Pilot Program that launched in June 2019. This week, the program was expanded to include e-scooters from Spin.

All four companies have a signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MCDOT that contains safeguards to include performance measures relating to fleet size and condition. The MOU also has measures defining safe and appropriate operation and regulating parking of the e-bikes, operating hours and operator age. The companies can operate within all approved pilot areas within the County.

Within the next week, the e-scooter program will become available in the City of Gaithersburg as a result of a joint effort between the City and County.

“We are pleased to expand convenient and low-emission travel options in the County using e-bikes and e-scooters,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Capital Bikeshare and app-based e-scooters have provided important support for residents and employees during recent months as evidenced by high utilization and longer distance trips. As Montgomery County moves into additional phases of reopening, e-bikes and e-scooters offer choices for individuals who need flexible, inexpensive transportation for short trips or quick connections to and from transit. As always, it is essential that these vehicles are used safely and parked appropriately at the end of each trip.”

In support of safety during the COVID-19 health emergency, all vendors have enhanced their cleaning protocols to include recommended practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other Federal and global agencies. The companies have increased the frequency of cleaning for dockless devices and require their employees to wear gloves when handling them. Riders are encouraged to practice safeguards that include the use of hand sanitizer before and after use and to disinfect the handlebars.

During the initial phase of the COVID-19 health crisis, Capital Bikeshare, Bird, Lime, Lyft and Spin all offered free and reduced cost rides to qualified healthcare and essential workers. As the County advances in Phase 2 of its reopening from the health crisis, Bird and Lime are continuing those programs. 

Bird offers free electric scooter rides to healthcare workers and emergency personnel. To sign up, an individual should email a copy of their medical identification card, their name and phone number to together@bird.co. Eligible riders will receive two free 30-minute rides per day.

Lime’s program “Lime Aid” provides free, 30-minute rides for medical personnel, first responders and other essential workers.

For ongoing reduced cost travel options, the Capital Bikeshare for All equity program offers a one-year, free membership to qualified individuals who live and/or work in Montgomery County. Membership includes free, unlimited 60-minute trips of pedal and e-bikes throughout the Capital Bikeshare system.

For ongoing updates, follow @MCDOTNow and @mococommuter on Twitter and Instagram, visit the department website at montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, subscribe to MCDOT news releases or subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ biweekly newsletter.

For transportation updates related to COVID-19 health crisis, visit MCDOT’s transportation resource page for COVID-19.

# # #

Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD 
Release ID: 20-365
Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389