Shared Electric Scooter Pilot
The Howard County Office of Transportation oversees the permitting process for shared electric scooters. The first permit was granted for the period from March 23, 2022 to March 22, 2023. At the end of the pilot, adjustments to the permit requirements will be considered and advertising will begin for applications for the second permitting period.
Howard County Bikeshare Ending
Howard County Bikeshare, a bikeshare pilot program that provided fitness-friendly transportation in Columbia and Ellicott City, is coming to an end this month, as officials evaluate the next generation of services to provide county residents.
Existing bicycles and stations will be removed beginning February 21st. The current system relies on outdated 3G technology for communication between components, and upgrades have been determined to be cost-prohibitive.
“Our Bikeshare program has been widely used by residents and visitors for recreation, most often to bike around Lake Kittamaqundi and downtown Columbia,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “While our pilot program is ending, we now have the opportunity to test other modes of transportation for our community. We’re grateful to our many community partners who have collaborated with us throughout this process to ensure we’re providing the best options to our residents.”
The vendor, Bewegen Technologies, will remove all equipment by February 28th. Howard County Bikeshare members will have their memberships prorated.
Bikeshare use has declined significantly since the onset of the pandemic. The program recorded 1242 rides in 2020 after a 5-month closure, compared to a peak of 5468 rides in 2019. The program recovered slightly in 2021 recording 2788 individual rides. The most popular station was located near Lake Kittamaqundi.
Howard County is currently working with community partners in Downtown Columbia and vendors to pilot shared electric scooters to Columbia. Implementation of a shared scooter program has been delayed because of both the pandemic and changes in business expansions plans of a vendor, SPIN, over the past several months. The Office of Transportation will assess rebidding the bikeshare contract after conducting a report on the e-scooter pilot later this year.