Beep Beep! Check out this new podcast – City Cast Denver with host Bree Davies. These brief podcasts are a fresh perspective on how our fair city develops and adapts to constant change. In this episode, we hear about the proposed scooter regulations City Council will be voting on.
Update: City Council Committee delays vote of changes to E-Scooter/Bike Share Program to April 27.
DENVER – Following a competitive bidding process for the operation of shared bike and scooter services in the city, Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) is moving two licensing agreements through the Denver City Council approval process that would allow Lyft and Lime to exclusively operate scooter and bike share services in Denver. On Tuesday, March 23, DOTI will present the licensing agreements to Denver City Council’s Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee for approval before heading to full council for consideration.
A license would replace how dockless electric scooter and bike companies currently operate in Denver, which is through a permit. As compared to the permit, the license lays out a shared bike and scooter operation that is the most beneficial to Denver’s residents and visitors, with both companies serving as partners to the city to help further the goals of Denver’s Mobility Action Plan. If the licenses are approved by Council, Lyft and Lime would be the only two companies operating vehicles in Denver under the new bike and scooter share program. The license would be valid for 5 years.
Highlights of Denver’s New Bike and Scooter Share Program
- The two companies will be licensed to deploy a maximum of 1,500 electric scooters each.
- Each company is also required to provide a shared bike service, supplying bikes at a rate of 20% of their scooter fleet, at minimum (example: 1,500 scooters = 300 bikes).
- The companies must make at least 30% of vehicles available each day in designated opportunity areas to increase access to transportation options, particularly focusing on areas with low vehicle ownership and high transit ridership (see attached map).
- In exchange for the exclusive license to operate in Denver, the companies must offer free and/or subsidized passes to residents to attract new riders and increase mobility choices around the city (this will be similar to the 5,280 Free Rides Program Denver rolled out in 2019 in partnership with Denver B-cycle.)
- New docking strategies may be utilized, which could include physical charging stations and painted parking corrals.
- Vehicles must be equipped with “geofencing” technology that will automatically slow the vehicles down to 3mph when a rider enters a designated area where pedestrian volumes are known to be high – such as the 16th Street Mall, where scooters are specifically not permitted – to increase safety for people on foot.
More About Bike and Scooter Share in Denver
In 2018, Denver launched a Dockless Mobility Pilot Program, which permitted electric scooters and dockless bikes to operate in the public right-of-way. Through the pilot, DOTI observed that shared micro-mobility has an opportunity to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips, enhance people’s connections to transit and provide other ways to get around. Since the pilot launched in August 2018, more than 6.1 million scooter rides and 325,000 dockless bike rides have been taken, with people traveling millions of miles. In 2019, DOTI made the decision to extend the pilot and allow additional time to formally bid the award of a license through a competitive process. A final report-out of data on the pilot program is posted online at www.bit.ly/scooterandbikeshare.