E-scooter rental sharing is finally coming to NYC starting with a pilot launching in the Bronx, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today. The program will start this spring with 2,000-3,000 scooters in the northeast part of the borough, in the vicinity of Eastchester, Wakefield, Pelham Parkway and Co-Op City. "We are happy to deliver the city’s first e-scooter share pilot — crafted to allow Bronx residents to try e-mobility to and from countless critical destinations," said DOT commissioner Hank Gutman in a statement.
NYC has already legalized electric moped and e-bike sharing, with companies like Lyft's Citi having already established a presence. E-scooters themselves are also legal, but only for purchase or long-terms rentals — meaning short-term rental shares from the likes of Lime and Bird are still nowhere to be seen in the Big Apple.
“Working closely with the Council, we are happy to deliver the city’s first e-scooter share pilot -- crafted to allow Bronx residents to try e-mobility to and from countless critical destinations, from Co-op City to the Soundview @NYCferry terminal” -Commissioner Gutman pic.twitter.com/NXcKvyMSTo
— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) February 18, 2021
DOT has yet to announce which scooter companies will participate in the trials, as the New York Post reported. "A forthcoming announcement will introduce the companies selected from amongst those who responded to the [bid], along with details about equipment, accessible options, pricing, equity policies and discounts, features, and a launch schedule,” the agency said in a press release.
NYC and the DOT aim to help transit commuters who are a relatively long way from subway stations, while also placing scooters near universities, hospitals and other key locations. At the same time, it hopes to avoid typical e-scooter sharing pitfalls, like cluttered sidewalks, crashes and other safety issues. If everything goes to plan in the Phase 1 pilot rollout, it will expand to 4,000 to 6,000 scooters some time in 2022 — so it will still be awhile before e-scooters are ubiquitous across NYC.