Press Release #21-008
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Contact: Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (212) 839-4850
DOT Announces Zone for E-Scooter Pilot Starting This Spring in the East Bronx
Pilot will come to East Bronx neighborhoods – from Eastchester to Soundview -- starting in the coming months, delivered over two phases; E-scooters will provide a new transit option for travel between hospitals, schools and subway stations
The New York City Department of Transportation today announced the geographic boundaries for the e-scooter pilot mandated by City Council legislation passed in 2020. The pilot will offer a new shared mobility option in eastern Bronx neighborhoods from Eastchester and Co-op City to Throggs Neck and Soundview, an 18-square-mile area home to 570,000 residents. The pilot will allow DOT to see how e-scooter share works on City streets for the first time, and will require that companies operate in alignment with the City’s Vision Zero and equity goals. The pilot, expected to launch in the late spring, will run for a minimum of one year.
“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,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “Safety is our foremost priority, so DOT will require that scooter companies keep sidewalks and pedestrian ramps clear as well as closely track all crashes. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead -- as we announce the selected companies, as well as important changes to the streetscape, including new dedicated bike lanes to ease travel for e-scooters as well as bicycles in the east Bronx.”
“Emerging micromobility options must be inclusive of the needs of all riders—including individuals with disabilities. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) worked closely with the City Council and DOT to ensure that innovative accessible options were included in the pilot program, and we look forward to seeing Bronxites with disabilities riding e-scooters which will be a model for other cities as well,” said MOPD Commissioner Victor Calise. “In addition, maintaining a clear path of travel for pedestrians with disabilities is paramount, and the selected vendors will have protocols in place so that e-scooters do not cause obstructions.”
“I'm proud of the work we did with DOT, advocates, and the City Council to create the shared electric scooter pilot program,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “The program design reflects the priorities and concerns raised by diverse groups, addressing safety, storage, environmental sustainability, transit equity and justice. The pilot program location is the right one- where communities are diverse and where, in many instances, public transit isn't easily accessed from residential areas. This launch comes at a time when safely distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can be challenging on public transit. It will provide safe, easy, affordable travel for everyday trips. The scooter pilot program will provide a new micro-mobility option to more than a half million people, including 25,000 NYCHA residents. I look forward to receiving the data collected by the participating scooter companies and developing best practices that meet our transportation needs.”
The pilot is a result of a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) issued by DOT in October 2020. The pilot is estimated to bring as many as 2,000-3,000 scooters to the East Bronx during Phase 1 (2021; including neighborhoods of Eastchester, Wakefield, Pelham Parkway and Co-op City) with an increase to as many as 4,000 to 6,000 in a potential second phase (2022; including Throggs Neck, Parkchester and Soundview). The zone is designed to not overlap with Bronx neighborhoods targeted by Citi Bike as part of the bike share company’s current expansion plan. DOT will evaluate the pilot on how well it provides equitable coverage across the entire pilot zone, neighborhoods which are together over 80% Black and Latino – as well as home to approximately 25,000 NYCHA residents.
A forthcoming announcement will introduce the companies selected from amongst those who responded to the RFEI, along with details about equipment, accessible options, pricing, equity policies and discounts, features, and a launch schedule. DOT also plans to soon provide details of new bike lanes planned for the service area during 2021. Once announced, selected operators and DOT will conduct outreach to the communities within the pilot zone.
Modeled on previous pilots, DOT will establish the e-scooter program with demonstration agreements that require high standards and allow for strong enforcement mechanisms governing service provision and operator behavior. E-scooter operators will also be required to pay fees to fund third-party data management vendor for compliance oversight. The pilot’s phased roll-out is expected to allow DOT to test a variety of strategies to manage sidewalk clutter, including dedicated parking corrals and software-based management of scooter parking. New York City is among the last American cities with an e-scooter share program and will benefit tremendously from the lessons learned across the country and the world.
As required by local law, 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 issue a report with agency recommendations to follow.
“Building a sustainable and multimodal transportation network that serves all of New York City is one of the most important tasks in front of us as we recover from the pandemic, and e-scooters will absolutely help us get there. I am excited for the East Bronx residents who will benefit immediately from this pilot program and for the additional infrastructure like protected bike lanes that will accompany this initiative. The Council looks forward to monitoring this program and learning as much as we can from it about the promising future of e-scooters in New York City,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“Micromobility is the future of New York City. We must continue expanding alternative forms of transportation and ensure we are reducing the number of personal vehicles on our roads. I am confident that this e-scooter pilot program will pave the way towards eventually bringing e-scooter into other areas across the City,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I will continue to work closely with DOT Commissioner Henry Gutman, Speaker Johnson, my colleagues at the council, and advocates to ensure we continue expanding alternative forms of transportation.”
“I am incredibly excited and proud that the first e-scooter pilot program in New York City is coming to the East Bronx,” said Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez. “We need to ensure that our residents have alternative means of transportation that are not only affordable, but environmentally conscious. The Northeast Bronx, and the borough as a whole is a transit desert, and I'm glad that we are working toward modern solutions.”
“The East Bronx e-scooter pilot program is an innovative solution to transit and mobility struggles plaguing countless residents in my district and beyond,” said Assembly Member Kenny Burgos. “I applaud the DOT and their partners for considering the needs of communities like Soundview that are often left out of these conversations. I look forward to safe, green transportation alternatives that make the everyday lives of my constituent and all Bronxites easier and more equitable.”