In an update on our earlier article on scooter accessibility and the exciting efforts to bring a new form of micro-mobility to the city, the Department of Transportation has made its selection for who will lead the pilot program.
The three companies selected, Bird, Lime, and Veo, will begin setting up operations to launch in early summer of this year. Bird and Lime are already present in 100+ cities across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Veo, or VeoRide, is a new company based out of Chicago with operations in only 20 cities. Access to the New York market is a game changer for all three companies, as it is the largest untapped market for e-scooter sharing programs. The pilot offers a small slice of what to expect from the larger New York market, covering an 18-square-mile area that’s home to 570,000 residents.
So what will this look like? First, accountability and price accessibility were championed as critical values in the selection process. Most rides are expected to cost under $5, with Bird offering unlimited rides at that monthly price point for low income residents. Lime will also provide a 50% program to those on public assistance, with additional coverage to frontline workers, teachers, and nonprofits. In terms of logistics, the initial phase of the program will be exclusively in the Bronx. The DOT stated this choice was made in order to prioritize reaching current transit deserts underserved by bike-share programs like Citibike.
Other innovations developed through prior testing and regulations in other cities include Lime’s new lock-to-parking and geofencing strategies to ensure there is no sidewalk clutter. These will set aside “corrals” similar to the Citi Bike docking stations that will alert the user that the scooter ride has not been finished if the scooter is not stored properly. The company has also faced concerns raised about employment equitability and user accessibility. By agreeing to hire local employees and launch seven vehicle types designed to meet various disabilities, Lime’s proposal emphasizes a desire to meet every expectation.
Lime CEO, Wayne Ting, spoke in a Lime press release about how the company looks forward to expanding operations as they head into the one year pilot, stating “this 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. In welcoming a new mode of transportation to its streets, New York demonstrates its dedication to shepherding a sustainable recovery from COVID-19”.