E-scooter fleet to double this summer, expand southward in east Bronx pilot

The east Bronx e-scooter pilot is expanding and doubling its fleet this summer.
Photo courtesy DOT

East Bronxites are going to see double this summer.

The e-scooter pilot program didn’t zoom into the borough unnoticed last summer, with a one-month late rollout and residents flustered by the unfamiliar devices that some felt were dumped onto the borough. But others praised the new opportunity to sustainably navigate a transit-starved borough, encouraging community education and safety enforcement in response to complaints of improperly parked scooters and riders breaking traffic rules.

The two-part pilot, which was authorized by the City Council in June 2020, brought up to 3,000 e-scooters to the northeast Bronx in summer 2021 and will bring as many as an additional 3,000 this summer. The scooters are provided by three companies: Lime, Bird and Veo.

As of Thursday, the scooters have been used more than 480,000 times in the first phase, and as of early March, 950 riders utilized discounted price programs across 17,000 rides, according to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT).

DOT announced on Thursday that the second phase, coming to the southeast Bronx, will launch in June, implementing devices from Pelham Bay and Country Club down to Throggs Neck, and across to Soundview and Parkchester.

While the pilot is limited to two years from its August 2021 launch, the mayor’s office and DOT did not answer whether the program has a sunset date.

The locations of where the e-scooter pilot is coming to the Bronx.  Photo courtesy NYC DOT

William Rivera, who chairs Community Board 9, which represents neighborhoods in the western part of phase two, said that while he has heard rumored positives and negatives about the program, he has more questions than comments until DOT presents to CB9 on April 7.

Matthew Cruz, who chairs Community Board 10, which represents various eastern neighborhoods in phase two, urged members of the public to attend DOT’s April 13 presentation to CB10 to see what lessons the agency may have learned from the pilot.

Cruz has heard concerns from residents about improper scooter parking in the middle of the sidewalk and underage riders using the scooters after their parents activate the devices for them. Riders must be at least 16-years-old and 16- and 17-year-old riders must wear a helmet. As for parking, scooters in phase one have been allowed to park freely along the sidewalk curb in certain areas and must be parked in specific marked locations in others.

Throggs Neck Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director Bob Jaen said he and BID Chair Anthony Basso will meet with DOT representatives to discuss how the project will be presented to the community. Jaen said he wants to ensure there will be designated pick-up and drop-off locations for the scooters.

“I want to hear what the city is offering as far as how this project is going to be brought to us, what’s the protocol and the procedures that come with it, because we want to keep an open mind,” Jaen said.

Councilmember Amanda Farías, who represents neighborhoods in the western part of phase two, said in a DOT press release that the e-scooter program will help residents “move more freely, and with more autonomy,” and that the pilot will make getting home from the Soundview and Throggs Neck ferries more “efficient, affordable and accessible” for residents.

The three e-scooter companies are required by the city to hold in-person safety training events.

The Bronx Times reached out to the Westchester Square BID for comment and is awaiting a response.

Read about the anticipation of the first phase here and residents who protested the new program here.

Reach Aliya Schneider at aschneider@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.