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L.A. City T-Committee to Discuss Dockless Bike-Share Regulations This Wednesday

L.A. City is proposing pilot regulation for dockless bike-share. ofo dockless photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The city of Los Angeles Transportation Department (LADOT) has proposed new rules that would apply to dockless bike-share and scooters. For shared mobility fleets on L.A. streets, LADOT is proposing annual fees per vehicle, removal relocation fees, and a performance bond. The shared mobility pilot proposal is on the agenda for this week's city council Transportation Committee meeting, taking place at 1 p.m. Wednesday May 23.

The current proposal builds on the outline that LADOT presented to the Transportation Committee last December. The current proposal refines specifics, and adds equity policies and pricing. LADOT recommends applying the new rules to shared mobility fleets including DoBi, electric-assist bicycles, and electric scooters. The city's DoBi rules state that they are intended as a 1-year pilot program, during which time they may be further refined.

Comparison of city DoBi
Comparison of city DoBi permit fee pricing - via LADOT staff report
Comparison of city DoBi permit fee pricing - via LADOT staff report

LADOT is proposing charging an annual fee of $500, plus $50 per bike or scooter, plus hourly costs when city staff spend time to remove or relocate items.

The proposal has various provisions, including:

    • Operators provide real-time and historical data using a specific shared data format.
    • Providers do outreach, including meeting with Business Improvement Districts, Neighborhood Councils, Council Districts, and surrounding municipalities.
    • The initial minimum and maximum fleet size is specified as 500 vehicles per company for a "beta phase of one year," with companies permitted to increase fleet size quarterly at the city's discretion, depending on compliance with rules and guidelines. The overall fleet size limit would be 2,500.
    • To foster equity, bikes/scooters in disadvantaged neighborhoods would not count against fleet limits. Also, operators must provide users a non-smart-phone option, cash payment option, a low-income plan with reduced fares, a multilingual mobile app, and a call center.
    • To prevent parked-device clutter, LADOT recommends all dockless operators include a mechanism to lock bikes and scooters to a fixed object. Operators must submit a parking plan that includes "fees and/or disincentives for illegally parked vehicles" as well as those outside digital geo-fenced areas. If devices are parked illegally, the Bureau of Sanitation would impound them and charge the company a fee.
    • Dockless bike-share will not be allowed to directly compete with Metro Bike Share at this time. A geo-fence of three miles would be created around the existing Metro Bike Share service area.

There are lots of more detailed provisions in the full proposal.

Smart-phone-app-based electric scooters and dockless bikes are already on L.A. streets and in nearby jurisdictions. Some DoBi has been permitted via early pilot programs. Some of these devices have just been plopped down with no public process. Some controversy has ensued. Some have welcomed the new mobility options.

Tune in this Wednesday to see how the latest proposal fares at T-Committee.

(Article revised 5/22 to better reflect more details in city proposal)

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