D.C. Plans More Regulations for Micromobility Operators

Operators are pushing back against new proposed rules that some say could 'kneecap' the District's micromobility industry.

September 16, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Electric Scooter Share

Joaquin Corbalan P / Shutterstock

As the District of Columbia's Department of Transportation plans to cap the number of scooter and bike share operators in the District and implement a series of new regulations, Kea Wilson reports that some advocates wonder "why micromobility providers are again being held to higher standards than are drivers, automakers, and car-related businesses." In an open letter to DDOT, the District's current micromobility operators argue that the new rules could push them out of the market just as demand for their services surges. 

Under the new process, companies would be assessed on a 198-point rubric that gauges the companies’ commitment to safety, equitable access, and fair labor practices, among a list of other sky-high standards that some argue would more logically apply to car-based enterprises. 

App-taxi operators such as Uber do not have to pass such extensive tests in order to operate on Washington roads and can deploy as many drivers as they wish, despite such companies’ record of contributing to congestion, harmful emissions, and more. Private vehicle owners can also register as many vehicles as they like throughout the U.S. provided they meet safety and emissions requirements.

The operators "already comply with a raft of city policies, including fleets caps of 820 to 2,500 vehicles," and want DDOT "to extend the current micromobility permits for an additional year." 

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