Press Release #21-030
Thursday, August 12, 2021
Contact: Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (212) 839-4850
NYC DOT Announces Launch Date of E-Scooter Pilot in the East Bronx
The city’s e-scooter pilot will start Tuesday, August 17, 2021 with up to 3,000 Bird, Lime and Veo e-scooters available in the East Bronx
THE BRONX – The New York City Department of Transportation today announced the official launch of the city’s e-scooter pilot in the East Bronx. Bird, Lime and Veo, the three companies participating in the pilot, will bring up to 3,000 e-scooters to the East Bronx during Phase 1 starting Tuesday, August 17, 2021, with an increase to as many as 6,000 in the second phase 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. “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.”
“Bird thanks the NYC DOT for its leadership and embrace of shared micromobility,” said Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden. “We are honored to partner with DOT, community groups and many others to provide New York City with Bird’s safe, equitable and accessible eco-friendly transportation service.”
“Lime is honored and grateful to have the opportunity to serve New York City once again and we are thrilled that our shared electric scooters will be hitting the streets of the East Bronx next week,” said Lime CEO Wayne Ting. “We've spent years working to get to this point, focusing on community outreach and establishing trust, and we look forward to continuing to earn the trust of all New Yorkers by running a safe, equitable, and sustainable operation that shows the potential of micromobility in the greatest city on earth. Lime applauds Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Gutman, and the City Council for their vision in creating this program and for their commitment to building the bike lanes and safe streets infrastructure to go along with it. Our scooters will provide East Bronx residents and visitors with a safe, accessible, and equitable way to get around their neighborhoods that reduces congestion and connects people to subway stations and bus stops that are all too often too far away. We look forward to working with NYC DOT and our local partners to continually improve our scooter sharing program in real time and support safe streets infrastructure investments throughout the City. We'll see you on two wheels in the East Bronx next week.”
“Being part of New York City’s e-scooter pilot program is a privilege, and a great opportunity for Veo to support the city’s efforts to increase accessibility and equity within the East Bronx,” said Candice Xie, CEO of Veo. “Our diverse fleet of stand-up, and seated, and ADA accessible scooters feature industry-leading safety technology and will provide residents and visitors of the Bronx with the new, safe, and affordable transportation options that are needed now more than ever as the city continues to reopen. As this pilot program grows over the next two years, we look forward to supporting NYC DOT’s ambitious commitment to adding new bike lanes in the area to enhance safety and mobility for all riders. Our team will be available over the next couple of weeks to meet users at corrals and help acclimate them to the e-scooters provide education on safe riding.”
E-Scooter Share Pilot Details: Mandated by City Council legislation passed in 2020, the city’s e-scooter pilot is expected offer a new shared mobility option in the eastern Bronx pilot zone; in Phase One this year, neighborhoods from Eastchester and Co-op City to Morris Park are included. In 2022, Phase Two will include neighborhoods farther south, including Throggs Neck and Soundview. In total, the zone is an 18-square-mile area home to a diverse population of 570,000 residents, including 25,000 NYCHA residents.
Community meetings over the last few months have also led to the 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. The corral locations are available in online maps for each of the three Community Boards served by the pilot.
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 neighborhoods 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.
Companies were evaluated on past performance elsewhere as well as RFEI questionnaire responses about equipment, accessible options, pricing, equity policies and discounts, features, and a launch schedule. Each of the companies has shown a sizeable presence in other American cities and had the highest performances measured in the evaluation process. Among the selected companies, Lime already has experience in New York City, having participated in the City’s dockless bike share pilot in the Rockaways and on Staten Island during 2018 and 2019.
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 behavior, 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:
- In-app safety tests for new riders;
- A “beginner mode” which requires that a user’s first 30 minutes of trips are limited to 10mph and cannot occur in darkness or overnight;
- Voluntary socially distanced in-person lessons;
- A rider accountability policy to prevent underage riding;
- Accessible vehicle options, such as seated scooters and wheelchair attachments; and
- Regular meetings with DOT, MOPD, and disability groups on accessibility issues.
E-scooters in the pilot can only be unlocked using each company’s smartphone app and are limited to riders 18 and older. 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 programs. The companies have priced their scooters at the following rates:
- Veo: $1 to unlock and $0.39 per minute
- Lime: $1 to unlock and $0.30 per minute
- Bird: $1 to unlock and $0.39 per minute
The three companies have also hired locally, and have guaranteed a range of consumer and labor protections. Further community enhancing measures include:
- Providing additional in-app language options other than English
- Engaging with the disability community on accessible options
- Stationing employees at corral locations to educate the public and address operational issues during rollout
- Offering customer agreements with no binding arbitration or class action waiver provisions
- Hiring salaried employees – with no “gig labor” permitted
“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. Increasing access to micro-mobility options will help New Yorkers embrace alternative forms of transportation and reduce our carbon emissions footprint. The City’s E-scooter pilot program will provide East Bronx residents with a sustainable and more environmentally friendly mode of transportation,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I am happy to hear that the e-scooters pilot program will soon begin in the East Bronx, an area riddled by transit deserts. I will be working closely with DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman, Bird, Lime, Veo, transportation advocates, and community members to ensure we are keeping all riders and pedestrians safe.”
“First and foremost I must thank the Department of Transportation for their hard work in ensuring a successful launch to the E-Scooter Pilot Program,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “After a year of dedicated effort we are seeing the City prioritize the transportation needs of Bronx residents and I am excited to see the future of this e-scooter program. I urge e-scooter drivers to respect traffic laws and maintain the safety of pedestrians."
“Bringing micromobility to the East Bronx will shorten commutes, support local businesses, and shift our city towards a future that is less reliant on cars,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “We are looking forward to the scooter pilot launching this month as well as the upcoming, previously-announced protected bike lanes for the East Bronx. One of the best ways to ensure the pilot is a success is by building out more protected on-street infrastructure, and we will continue to work with community members, elected officials and the NYC DOT team to ensure these life-saving projects advance without delay.”
Near the end of the two-year pilot, DOT will issue a legally mandated report that will include agency recommendations.