- The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced Friday it is extending its dockless bike-share pilot program through August, after it was due to expire this month.
- In a press release, DDOT officials said the extension will allow the agency to continue to evaluate dockless bike-share and design management policies. In a statement, DDOT director Jeff Marootian said extending the program will help dockless bike-share find a "sustainable way forward."
- According to data provided to Smart Cities Dive by DDOT spokesman Terry Owens, the five dockless bike-share companies operating in the city were ridden almost 50,000 times in October and November, then around 33,000 times in December and 29,000 in January.
Seven dockless bike-share and scooter companies operate in DC. Jump, Spin, ofo and Mobike operate bicycles only; Waybots and Bird utilize electric scooter operators; Limebike operates both. And The Washington Post reported DC simultaneously withdrew a plan to impose substantive fees and regulations on those companies, as well as extending the pilot.
Those companies operate in addition to Capital Bikeshare, which has docks for shared bikes throughout the metropolitan area. In an email to Smart Cities Dive, Owens said Capital Bikeshare “has not been impacted” by the dockless pilot, and continues to have strong ridership, including 19,000 trips on one recent Saturday. “We viewed dockless and a complement to our transit options,” Owens said. “So far that appears to be the case.”
Based on the numbers provided by DDOT, dockless bikes appear to have had healthy monthly ridership, even during the winter months that have been harsh by typical DC standards. With the warmer temperatures of spring and summer just around the corner, DDOT officials are keeping an eye on how the program does when weather makes people more inclined to be outside.
“We have received a tremendous amount of input from the community and private sector partners since the launch of the demonstration project,” Owens said. “We continue to evaluate that data and look forward to gathering additional insights as we move into the warmer months.”
The introduction of dockless scooters have also played a role in DDOT extending its pilot program, Owens said. The Washington Post reported that the scooters first started popping up in the city in mid-March, so more time for this pilot program will allow DC to determine how they will affect the marketplace. “[Scooters are] still a relatively new feature, and we look forward to more data on how the scooters are impacting the transportation network,” Owens said.