CDOT and BACP announce that the application process is underway for the scooter sharing program for its spring launch

Chicago The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Department of Business and Consumer Protection (BACP) today launched the application process for a combined electric scooter license that allows up to three companies to operate in Chicago. The license, which was authorized by the city council after two shared scooter pilots for four months, is expected to launch in the spring with up to 3,000 devices initially. Operators will be required to use technology that can detect and reduce people riding e-scooters on sidewalks. Devices will be allowed on streets across the city, but not on the Lake Front Trail, 606/Bloomingdale Trail, Chicago Riverwalk or the O’Hare Airport area.

“CDOT and our partners at BACP conducted two pilot projects that tested whether shared electric scooters were a viable addition to Chicago’s commuting scene. We learned that an effectively managed e-scooter program could provide an affordable, convenient and friendly way,” said CDOT’s commissioner, Gia Biaggi. “Environmental Touring in Chicago.” “Working with the City Council, last year we ordained to stand on a two-year permit program. Shared e-scooters will provide the benefits of commuting throughout Chicago – with an emphasis on service areas that will benefit from new transportation options.”

“The new scooter sharing license will enable companies to operate scooter fleets in Chicago, subject to the terms of the license,” said BACP Commissioner Ken Mayer. “The two scooter pilot programs have allowed us to conduct a thoughtful evaluation of scooters in Chicago to come up with a durable structure for this new license. With cooperation, and approval by City Council, the license will ensure that licensees put the safe and fair distribution of the scooter at the forefront of their business models.”

Applications from potential operators are due in February. City officials will select up to three companies to offer shared scooters this spring.

Potential operating companies will be ranked based on a number of criteria, including past performance, operational capabilities, technology and the ability to meet the city’s fairness, environmental and safety standards.

Each operator will be licensed to offer up to 1,000 devices initially, and companies will be allowed to deploy additional devices if they meet specific requirements for passengers, safety, compliance and education. The Scooter Sharing Act allows for up to 12,500 total devices across all businesses.

Among the main requirements of the program are the following:

  • Companies must deploy scooters equipped with cable lock technology (“lock on”), which requires that they be locked to fixed objects such as bicycle racks, street signs or light poles at the end of the ride.
  • Companies will be required to deploy technology that detects and reduces curb ride.
  • Companies will be required to deploy 50% of the scooters in stock priority areas that cover many of the southern and western neighborhoods and a total of about 50% of the entire service area.
  • Companies will be required to provide affordable access to shared scooters to low-income residents as well as non-credit card-based access and non-smartphone-based access.
  • Motorcycles are permitted to operate between 5 a.m. and midnight and on bike lanes, driveways or streets.
  • Motorbikes will be allowed downtown in limited numbers in an effort to balance the benefits of commuting with parking space restrictions.
  • Companies will be required to educate scooter users on the proper and safe use of devices and implement policies that encourage compliance with safety rules, including riding lessons and in-app education.
  • Companies will face fines if they fail to remove improperly parked scooters within two hours of filing the complaint.
  • At least 5% of each company’s equipment must be available to passengers with movement restrictions and must contain at least one seat.
  • Companies must provide free or discounted helmets.
  • The decree includes new consumer protection policies, including data privacy rules, that prohibit companies from charging fees while riders complete education, and prohibit companies from requiring passengers to pay in advance for more than one ride.

CDOT and BACP conducted e-scooters pilots in 2019 and 2020 to test service feasibility, test technology and safety regulations and to develop an understanding of whether scooters provide a beneficial transportation option for Chicago residents. In October 2021, the Chicago City Council issued an ordinance that created a new business license class for scooter-sharing companies. In addition to three scooter vendors, the ordinance also allows CDOT to integrate electric scooters into the city’s Divvy bikeshare system.

For more information about the program, go to: www.chicago.gov/scooters

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