The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has announced it is partnering with Bird, Lime and VeoRide to run its first-ever pilot program for eScooters. The permits, which will be awarded by the NYC DOT, will allow each ride-hailing company to employ about 1,000 dockless scooters, and will first be introduced in the Bronx, according to TechCrunch and other news outlets.
Lime CEO Wayne Ting said that the Silicon Valley startup, which was founded in 2017, is eager to help the city during a time when being socially distanced and staying outdoors has become a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. New York state law prohibited the use of dockless eScooters until 2020.
“This eScooter 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. In welcoming a new mode of transportation to its streets, New York demonstrates its dedication to shepherding a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 — one that isn’t hampered by the crippling traffic congestion that depresses growth,” Ting said in a press release.
The electric vehicle rideshare model has been dominated by Lime; the Silicon Valley startup was a key contributor in the move to legalize electric scooters on New York streets. The pilot program is expected to start in a section of the East Bronx this summer.
The three rideshare companies will work with communities to designate parking areas for scooters and help educate the public about the program’s safety, equity and accessibility components, according to reports.
The 18-square-mile area of the East Bronx is home to about 570,000 people, Smart Cities Dive reported. The initial phase of the trial period is anticipated to bring around 2,500 scooters to the neighborhoods of Eastchester, Wakefield, Pelham Parkway and Co-op City.
Lime introduced app-less eScooters and electric bikes last month. Using Apple’s App Clips or Instant App on an Android device, riders can grab a scooter and scan its QR code. Lime also launched a new model in November 2020 that is anticipated to extend beyond the two-year lifespan of its regular model.