E-Scooters Are Coming to New York City

Major micromobility comapnies and lesser known competitors are stating their interest to take part in a New York City e-scooter pilot program slated for Spring 2021.

November 10, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery


Lime Scooters

Portland Bureau of Transportation / Flickr

New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) recently released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the city's eagerly awaited e-scooter pilot program. "The RFEI announcement has now set off a frenzy among dockless vehicle operators, who all see an opportunity to serve what has, until now, been the largest untapped market in the United States," reports Chris Teale.

U.S.-based companies like Bird, Lime, and Spin are preparing applications to participate in the pilot program which will begin on the first of March next year. 

Once initiated, the pilot program will be rolled out the vehicles in small groups to ensure safe service sin all every borough except Manhattan, where e-scooters will not be permitted. "NYCDOT said that preference will be given to serving areas outside of its existing or planned bike-share zones," says Teale.

All of the microbility corporations who commented for Teale's piece said that safety and equity would be among their top priorities in planning for the pilot and completing the application process. Elected officials cited safety and charging infrastructure as their main concerns in provisioning the e-scooters. The RFEI specifies that operators will be responsible for making sure scooters are properly parked. Additionally, operators will not be allowed to hire private contractors to charge vehicles in private residences. 

Competing with the major micromobility companies are Stockholm-based Voi and the robotics company Superpedestrian. All companies have been asked to complete their applications by a December 16th deadline.

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