Press Release #21-015
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Contact: Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (212) 839-4850
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 today announced that three companies had been selected for New York City’s first electric 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.
“Building on the lessons learned across the country, we are proud to bring e-scooter share to a large portion of the Bronx – an area with a population larger than most American cities,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “We now welcome Bird, Lime and Veo—and we look forward to working closely with them, elected officials and local Bronx communities to make e-scooter share an effective, convenient and most important, safe way to get around by this summer.”
“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,” said Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner Victor Calise. “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.
“This is a major milestone on so many levels. This shared e-scooter pilot program was created by my legislation, Local Law 2020/073. I asked for this pilot program to come to the Bronx and this is a ‘win’ for all Bronxites,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “Here, in the East Bronx, many people live in transit deserts with public transportation far away from their homes. The Bronx was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, making the need for affordable, accessible transportation that allows safe distancing for public health, extremely important. We worked with advocates for transportation equity, delivery workers, people with disabilities, and the e-scooter companies to develop a program that would best meet the needs of these populations and allow us to collect data to identify best practices. I want to thank the Department of Transportation for the great work they’ve done throughout the process to make this happen. I look forward to the results of the pilot program.”
“Micro-mobility will help connect New Yorkers living in transit deserts to our major public transportation system. I congratulate the participating E-scooter companies and hope the pilot program is a success. We must continue pushing New York City into a greener and more environmentally friendly direction by increasing accessibility to alternative modes of transportation. It is vital that when the time comes to expand this pilot program, we make these e-scooters accessible to all underserved communities,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “As we continue to increase alternative modes of transportations, we must ensure we’re also increasing bike and e-scooter infrastructure to keep riders and pedestrians safe. I look forward to continuing to work alongside DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman, participating e-scooter companies Lime, Bird, and Veo, and advocates to ensure we are keeping riders and pedestrians safe.”
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.
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.
“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,” said Travis VanderZanden, Bird Founder and CEO. “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,”
“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,” said Wayne Ting, Lime CEO. “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.”
“It is an honor to be selected to participate in New York City’s first e-scooter pilot,” said Veo Co-Founder and CEO, Candice Xie, “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.”
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.
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. Pricing details for each company is as follows:
- 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
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’s phased roll-out 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. 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 (see map for details.)
“Accessibility to transportation is a real concern for the residents of the 12th Council District,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “The opportunity to have the e-scooter pilot program kick off right here in district 12 is only the start to addressing the transportation issues we face in our community. I would like to thank the Department of Transportation, Bird, Lime and Veo Companies for their hard work. I look forward to the continued partnership and collaborative efforts to further the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”
“Bronx Independent Living Services is glad that people with disabilities have been included in this initiative. We look forward to working with MOPD to advocate and ensure that paths of travel are clear,” said Brett L. Eisenberg, Executive Director of Bronx Independent Living Services.
“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," said Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, Danny Harris. "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.”
“United Spinal Association and it’s 58,000 members applaud the work of Mayor de Blasio, NYCDOT and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Victor Calise for ensuring that the e-scooter pilot will address the needs and rights of the disability community,” said United Spinal Association's President and CEO Vincenzo Piscopo. “We will be able to assess the e-scooter pilot companies for access and compare service, safety and reliability. Keeping paths of travel clear of clutter is also critical and we are glad that the vendors will have policies in place so that their e-scooters do not impede sidewalk access, as has been the case in other cities.”
“We are pleased that e-scooters will have an option for people with disabilities to ride, but we are concerned about riders hitting us and clogging up the sidewalks. I hope that all e-scooters will have an audio component,” said Jean Ryan President of Disabled in Action.
“The needs of people with disabilities must be a priority in planning all transportation initiatives — from the mode of transport to its impact on the surroundings. We understand that there have been some issues in other cities with e-scooters becoming physical obstacles and trip hazards for people with vision loss or blindness. Lighthouse Guild looks forward to working with MOPD to ensure that the needs and safety of people with vision impairment are protected,” said Dr. Calvin W. Roberts, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild.