Today The Bronx made history as New York City's first e-scooter share began its pilot program in our borough before any other place in New York City.
Starting today, up to 3,000 e-scooters are being deployed across parts of the East Bronx in the first phase of the pilot, covering all neighborhoods north of East Tremont Avenue and East of the Bronx River and, up until the Hutchinson River Parkway.
The selected companies for the pilot program, Lime, Bird, and Veo, will each drop 1,000 across the pilot area and will be available to unlock for use via each company's app for $1. There are per minute costs which vary by company. Lime charges only 30 cents per minute of usage, while Bird and Veo both charge 39 cents per minute.
All companies are also offering discounted pricing to increase accessibility and equity across the system, including discounts for NYCHA residents and those on public assistance.
“This is an exciting announcement as we officially bring shared micromobility to the East Bronx community. 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.” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman.
Shawn Garcia, the Bronx Organizer for Transporation Alternatives, said, "We’re thrilled about the launch of e-scooters in the East Bronx. The majority of residents in the Bronx don’t drive — instead walking, biking, or taking transit. With e-scooters, our neighbors living in transit deserts will have affordable and accessible connections to local businesses, workplaces, our transit system, and beyond."
While excited for the launch, Garcia also added the need for safety and better infrastructure.
"But we must push for safer conditions on our streets. With almost no protected bike lanes in the East Bronx, we’ll continue to advocate for safety upgrades on our streets and counteract decades of environmental racism in the Bronx because of the unacceptable car and truck traffic in residential neighborhoods," he added.
While many advocates for the program are excited for the East Bronx having been selected as New York City's area for the pilot program, an area that is often overlooked and is a relative transit desert when it comes to public transportation options, many residents are sounding off on public forums across social media that they are not happy with scooters coming to their neighborhoods.
Many in local Community Board Facebook groups such as Community Board 10 and 11 complain that this will be a disaster with people riding around in the scooters running red lights zooming in and out of traffic-causing accidents. Yet, according to a report by Streetsblog, they found that a small fraction of "injury-causing crashes" were caused by e-scooters and other micro-mobility devices.
Other concerns that have been addressed by the New York City Department of Transportation are the cluttering and parking of the e-scooters. DOT has installed over 90 corrals in heavily trafficked areas where the e-scooters must be parked within these mandatory corral zones. In other areas where there are none, you can park them on sidewalks away from the flow of pedestrian traffic or up against the curb.
The specific neighborhoods in the phase one pilot program are Van Nest, Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Pelham Gardens, Indian Village, Allerton, Williamsbridge, Co-op City, Edenwald, Baychester, Eastchester, and Woodlawn (the only West Bronx neighborhood in the program).
Next year, the pilot will expand to the rest of the East Bronx (except for City Island), covering Throggs Neck, Westchester Square, Soundview, Parkchester, Castle Hill, Country Club, Clason Point, Schuylerville, and Pelham Bay.
During the pilot, DOT will assess various data points, including usage, clutter management, and safety. After the pilot program, the agency will issue recommendations before a wider implementation across New York City. Under current law, Manhattan will be the only borough where e-scooters will be unavailable.
We're hoping for the best for this pilot program. Residents of the East Bronx deserve access to such ride sharing programs given that Citibike will not be coming to the area any time soon.
And drivers, be careful out there. Remember, your vehicle has exponentially more of a chance to kill someone on the road than a bicycle or e-scooter. As drivers of vehicles, you need to remember that pedestrians always have the right of way.