Waybots debuts dockless scooter service in DC
- Washington, DC this week welcomed a "soft launch" of Waybots, a dockless electric scooter pilot, as part of the city's dockless bike pilot that runs through April, according to District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Public Information Officer Terry Owens.
- Waybots executive Sanjay Dastoor told Smart Cities Dive that DC is the first launch location for the service, and that there are less than 10 scooters currently in testing. The company does not offer any other mobility services (such as bikes).
- The city's dockless bike pilot also includes LimeBike, Spin, ofo, Jump and Mobike.
Another day, another dockless mobility service launch.
Waybots is the sixth dockless service to hit the streets of DC since October, as the city looks to expand its mobility offerings and test the compatibility of dockless bike-share with the city's legacy bike-share service, Capital Bikeshare. While the current number of bike options may be overwhelming to some DC residents or visitors, the option for "scooting" across the capital is likely to pique some interest.
The Waybots scooters, available to rent through an app, are monitored by the company with GPS and then charged, repaired and cleaned on a regular basis, according to Dastoor. The rental fee is $1 plus $0.15 per minute, on par with other scooter services like Bird — though a significant price jump from LimeBike's bike service, which is available for $1 per 30 minutes.
In fact, LimeBike is now expanding into the scooter market with Lime-S, which could hurt both Waybots and Bird due to its lower prices — $1 plus $0.10 per minute — and growing popularity in the shared mobility industry.
Despite popularity or costs, the fate of all dockless services is uncertain, as bike littering continues to plague city streets. When asked if DC is concerned about adding another dockless service to its already-packed pilot, potentially contributing to this littering trend, Owens told Smart Cities Dive, "As part of our pilot we are monitoring the performance of all of the operators and working with the companies to ensure they abide by the District’s public space requirements."
Dastoor added to this sentiment, saying, "Our electric scooters are less prone to [littering] than dockless bikes."
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