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Bronx Scooter-Share Program Kicks Off Next Week 

Lime’s Russell Murphy teaching a Bronx resident how to ride an e-scooter. Photo: Fiifi Frimpong

Ready or not, here they come.

The first electric scooters as part of the city’s long-awaited e-scooter pilot program will start rolling through the streets of the Bronx next Tuesday, Department of Transportation officials announced Thursday — weeks after Streetsblog uncovered paltry attendance at scooter-training events.

The trio of companies selected by DOT this spring — Lime, Bird and Veo — each will deploy 1,000 scooters into three neighborhoods of the East Bronx, including Eastchester, Co-op City and Morris Park, in the first phase of the pilot. The DOT says it will expand next year into Throggs Neck and Soundview, doubling the fleet to 6,000 scooters.

“This is an exciting announcement as we officially bring shared micromobility to the East Bronx community,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “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.”

The Aug. 17 launch date comes after Streetsblog reported last month that just five Bronxites showed up to a learn-to-ride event hosted by Lime. The DOT acknowledged the shortcomings of the training sessions, to which only some 100 people showed up across 15 different demonstrations, according to the department's announcement. During a similar event last week, Lime said about 30 people showed up after stepped-up engagement. Now, Lime's CEO says the company is ready, and hopes residents of the Boogie Down are, too.

“Lime is honored and grateful to have the opportunity to serve New York City once again and we are thrilled that our shared electric scooters will be hitting the streets of the East Bronx next week,” said Wayne Ting in a statement. “We've spent years working to get to this point, focusing on community outreach and establishing trust, and we look forward to continuing to earn the trust of all New Yorkers by running a safe, equitable, and sustainable operation that shows the potential of micromobility in the greatest city on earth."

Ultimately, the city’s inaugural e-scooter pilot program — years after other cities around the country first welcomed the micro-mobility devices — will span an 18-square-mile area with about 570,000 residents, including 25,000 NYCHA residents, according to the DOT.

Map showing e-scooter deployment phases
Map showing e-scooter deployment phases
Map showing e-scooter deployment phases

More details about the scooter program:

    • Each scooter will have a beginner mode, which will cap speeds at 10 miles per hour until a newbie has used scooters for at least 30 minutes. Those trips can not be taken during evening hours.
    • There will be designated scooter “corrals” for people to leave scooters after a ride and, initially, company employees will be stationed at such corrals to educate the public.
    • Each scooter will cost $1 to rent, plus a per-minute charge. Those charges are 39 cents per minute on a Bird or Veo device, but only 30 cents per minute on a Lime device. The companies provide discounts to residents of public housing or for people enrolled in “federal and state assistance programs.”

The e-scooters are hitting the streets amid a surge of micro-mobility devices across the city which, despite pols' fear mongering, have contributed to just a tiny fraction of the total number of injury-causing crashes, Streetsblog recently reported.

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