WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The number of e-scooters could nearly double in the District, as DDOT prepares to award new permits in 2023.

Under new permit rules announced last month, DDOT will award up to five scooter companies a permit to operate in the District for a 24-month period. Scooters will be capped at 5,000 per permit. District laws allow for a maximum of 20,000 electric scooters in total.

Currently, five companies have permits for e-scooters, however, no company operates more than 2,500 scooters in the District. In total there are roughly 12,000 electric scooters available across DC.

Bird, Lime, Lyft, Skip and Spin operate scooter programs in the District. Jump operates an electric bike program. All will be required to apply for new permits.

“DDOT’s shared fleet devices program is rooted in thoughtful expansion, stakeholder feedback, and represents the Bowser administration’s commitment to safety, equitable access, and accountability,” said DDOT Director Everett Lott.

“Due to the program’s wide popularity, DDOT has opened the Share Fleet Device permit application in order to foster innovation and excellence among permitted shared fleet device operators. Once evaluations are complete and the appeals process concludes, DDOT will announce awarded permits on January 1, 2023,” he said.”

The new permit program also aims to make scooters more equitable.

Permitted companies will be required to deploy a minimum of three percent of their fleet in each ward every day. And, there will be more incentives for companies to offer low-income ridership programs.