E-scooter providers Bird, Lime and Veo will make up to 3,000 e-scooters available in the East Bronx for phase one of the programme with this figure increasing to 6,000 next year.
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has officially launched the first phase of its e-scooter pilot with up to 3,000 Bird, Lime and Veo e-scooters made available in the East Bronx.
The second phase will see the number of e-scooters increase to as many as 6,000 next year.
DOT and each company underwent an extensive community engagement process to site e-scooter parking corrals and educate the public about the pilot, including its safety, equity, and accessibility components.
These included dozens of meetings with community boards, local BIDs, nearby medical facilities, and more.
“This is an exciting announcement as we officially bring shared micromobility to the East Bronx community,” said DOT commissioner Hank Gutman.
He added: “With safety as our top priority, we look forward to a continued collaboration with Bird, Lime and Veo, elected officials and local Bronx communities to make e-scooter share an effective, convenient, and equitable way to get around.”
Mandated by City Council legislation passed in 2020, the city’s e-scooter pilot is expected to offer a new shared mobility option in the eastern Bronx pilot zone with neighbourhoods from Eastchester and Co-op City to Morris Park included. In 2022, phase two will include neighbourhoods further south, including Throggs Neck and Soundview.
“With safety as our top priority, we look forward to a continued collaboration with Bird, Lime and Veo, elected officials and local Bronx communities to make e-scooter share an effective, convenient, and equitable way to get around”
In total, the zone is an 18-square-mile area home to a diverse population of 570,000 residents, including 25,000 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents.
Community meetings over the past few months have also led to installation of nearly 90 e-scooter corrals on busy corridors within the pilot zone. Riders wanting to park in areas with corrals, must return their e-scooter to a corral. In other parts of the zone, riders can park on the sidewalk, against the curb and out of the pedestrian path of travel.
In addition to community engagement, Bird, Lime and Veo have also collectively held almost 15 demonstrations (serving more than 100 potential customers) and given away dozens of helmets, which are strongly encouraged – although not legally required – for riders.
The pilot is a result of a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) issued by DOT in October 2020 and the pilot zones were designed to not overlap with neighbourhoods targeted by Citi Bike as part of the bike-share company’s current expansion plan. The pilot service area will also be geo-fenced to prevent e-scooters from leaving.
“Increasing access to micromobility options will help New Yorkers embrace alternative forms of transportation and reduce our carbon emissions footprint”
Companies were evaluated on past performance elsewhere as well as RFEI questionnaire responses about equipment, accessible options, pricing, equity policies and discounts, features, and launch schedule. Each of the companies has shown a sizeable presence in other US cities and had the highest performances measured in the evaluation process.
“New York City set a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and I intend to do all I can to ensure we meet that goal,” said council member Ydanis Rodriguez, chairman of the transportation committee. “Increasing access to micromobility options will help New Yorkers embrace alternative forms of transportation and reduce our carbon emissions footprint. The City’s e-scooter pilot programme will provide East Bronx residents with a sustainable and more environmentally friendly mode of transportation.”
DOT and each company have entered into demonstration agreements that require high standards and allow for strong enforcement mechanisms governing service provision and operator performance.
The pilot will allow DOT to test a variety of strategies to manage sidewalk clutter, including dedicated parking corrals and using real time e-scooter data to ensure parking compliance. DOT will complete an evaluation of the pilot that will examine usage, trip patterns, safety, e-scooter parking behaviour, system accessibility and other factors.
DOT will evaluate the pilot on how well it is providing equitable coverage across the entire pilot zone, with explicit requirements that companies also adhere to DOT’s Vision Zero safety goals. Some safety and accessibility features include:
E-scooters in the pilot can only be unlocked using each company’s smartphone app and are limited to riders aged 18 and above. When announced in April as the participating companies, Bird, Lime and Veo unveiled pricing plans that will allow most rides for under $5. All three companies will provide discounted pricing for low-income New Yorkers enrolled in federal and state assistance programme.