NYC DOT Announces Three Companies Selected for E-Scooter Pilot in the East Bronx, Along with Major New Bike Network Projects

  • After a competitive selection process, Bird, Lime and Veo unveil e-scooter models and pricing plans that will allow most rides for under $5; following a community engagement period, service is expected to start by early summer with up to 3,000 e-scooters
  • New bicycle lanes planned for pilot zone over the next two years will also enhance e-scooter mobility and safety

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) today announced that three companies had been selected for New York City’s first e-scooter pilot in eastern Bronx: Bird, Lime and Veo. The pilot, mandated by City Council legislation passed in 2020, now enters the community engagement phase, wherein DOT and the three companies will work with local communities to site e-scooter parking corrals and educate the public about the pilot, including its safety, equity, and accessibility components. By early summer, e-scooters are expected to be on the streets of the pilot’s Phase One area, for which DOT today also unveiled its plans for new bike lanes to enhance safety and mobility.

e-scooter bronx
E-scooters are expected offer a new shared mobility option in the eastern Bronx pilot zone.
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner, Victor Calise, said:

Truly inclusive micromobility must include the disability community. The e-scooter pilot puts disability at the forefront of these emerging new transit modes, which will be a model not only in New York City but around the world. MOPD worked closely with DOT to ensure that accessible options, including first-of-its-kind wheelchair attachments, were part of the selected companies’ fleets. Additionally, we know that improperly parked e-scooters could lead to sidewalk clutter so we are going to work diligently to ensure that vendors follow protocols that keep paths of travel clear for everyone.

E-Scooter Share Details: E-scooters are 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.

e-scooter bronx
Micromobility pilot zone.
Bird Founder and CEO, Travis VanderZanden, said:

We would like to thank the DOT and the New York City Council for its leadership in bringing clean and affordable transportation to the Bronx. Bird is honored to have been selected for the pilot program as NYC DOT takes an important step forward in providing New Yorkers with a new and innovative transportation option - one that ushers in the ‘next’ normal of transportation and indexes on individual, shared mobility options that help the City meet its goals to increase trips on sustainable modes. In close partnership with the community, Bird is committed to ensuring the success of the program, providing NYC residents and visitors with a safe, reliable shared mobility service that is equitable and accessible to all. We look forward to introducing our most advanced technology to the shared mobility program and evolving our service to best meet the unique needs for riders in the Bronx.

The pilot is a result of a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) issued by DOT in October 2020. The pilot is estimated to initially bring up to 3,000 e-scooters to the East Bronx during Phase 1 with an increase to as many as 6,000 in the second phase The zone was designed to not overlap with Bronx neighborhoods targeted by Citi Bike as part of the bike share company’s current expansion plan.

Lime CEO, Wayne Ting, said:

We’re honored by the opportunity to once again serve New York. While of course New York is unique, we plan to bring our unparalleled experience serving the world’s leading cities to ensure a safe, reliable, equitable, and sustainable transportation service to Bronx residents. This means continuing to build trust with community leaders, establishing meaningful relationships with local organizations and hiring a team that reflects the diversity of the Bronx's vibrant neighborhoods. We applaud Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Gutman and the New York City Council for their dedication to safe streets--made evident by their substantial investment in the Bronx’s protected bike lane network, which will result in a safer scooter program for riders and non-riders alike. The e-scooter pilot program couldn’t come at a better time, as New York focuses on providing low-cost transportation options that allow residents to travel socially-distanced in the open air--all while ensuring its recovery promotes sustainability and reduces congestion. We can’t wait to get rolling in New York City.

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 bicycle pilot in the Rockaways and on Staten Island during 2018 and 2019.

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The pilot is estimated to initially bring up to 3,000 e-scooters to the East Bronx during Phase 1.
Veo Co-Founder and CEO, Candice Xie, said:

It is an honor to be selected to participate in New York City’s first e-scooter pilot. This last year has demonstrated that expanding access to new forms of affordable mobility can complement public transit and is crucial to the livelihoods of our neighbors and the functioning of our cities. We look forward to providing NYC with our latest standing and sit down e-scooters so that riders in the East Bronx have more options to get around safely and sustainably.

This spring, the three companies are expected to hire locally, guarantee a range of consumer and labor protections, as well as work with DOT to conduct extensive outreach to the communities within the pilot zone and other stakeholders. These measures will include:

  • Giving presentations to elected officials, community boards, and other stakeholders
  • Establishing helmet giveaway and/or a discount helmet purchase program
  • 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

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.

e-scooter bronx
The pilot’s phased roll-out is expected to allow DOT to test a variety of strategies to manage sidewalk clutter.

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 e-scooter pilot’s phased roll-out in the Bronx is expected to 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.

Near the end of the pilot, DOT will issue a legally mandated report that will include agency recommendations.

New Bike Lane Infrastructure: DOT today also previewed several bike lane projects for the pilot zone, including Protected Bike Lanes planned for White Plains Road and Bronxdale Ave, making for safer rides for both cyclists and e-scooter riders in the Bronx. New conventional bicycle lanes are also planned this year for the Phase One area along East 233rd Street and Eastchester Road with more major improvements slated for 2022 in both the Phase One and Two areas of the pilot zone.

Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, Danny Harris, said:

Putting micromobility in the hands of more New Yorkers will shorten commutes, stimulate local businesses, and shift our city towards a future that is less reliant on cars. We are excited to see the scooter pilot move forward, coupled with more 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 local community members and our partners at NYC DOT to ensure these life-saving projects advance without delay.

This article was originally published by The City of New York.


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