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Bird scooter company files petition after DDOT denies permit application

Less than a month after the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) denied a permit application from Bird Rides dockless e-scooters, the company has responded by filing an appeal in D.C. Superior Court.

Less than a month after the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) denied a permit application from Bird Rides dockless e-scooters, the company has responded by filing an appeal in D.C. Superior Court.

In a petition to the court filed Friday, Bird said that it felt DDOT denied its application for a new permit without reason, improperly scored its application for a permit and ducked the appeal process Bird was otherwise entitled to.

“DDOT’s handling of Bird’s appeal is unlawful,” the company claimed in its appeal.

The decision limits Bird’s operation within the city limits, placing the nearest e-scooter options for Bird users in neighboring jurisdictions.

Lawyers representing the company said that Bird’s problems with the application scoring process have existed since 2019 (some issues with caps on the number of e-scooters in the District have been around even longer).

During the first permit application process, DDOT didn’t award Bird a permit to operate in the city — the application met basic requirements, falling six points below successful applicants.

After the city granted stays and extensions for applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bird said it returned to the streets of D.C. without ever addressing the underlying problems.

It also said that the District changed its permitting process, removing one of its two-year permits. If the fifth permit had been allowed, Bird argues it would have had a right to that permit, increasing the number of e-ride options. For now, they remain in areas of nearby Montgomery and Arlington Counties, whether they’re wanted or not.

DDOT has not released a formal statement on the issue.

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