It’s finally happened — the electric scooter takeover has reached New York City, via the Bronx.
Lime was one of three scooter rental companies selected Wednesday to provide parts of NYC with the electric devices as part of a year-long pilot program. Bird and VeoRide also received permits. Lime will launch 1,000 of its Gen4 scooters, but only in the Bronx to start.
NYC was a major holdout for years as cities around the world accepted the two-wheeled electric devices. Finally, in 2019, New York state legislators opened up access to the electric vehicles. Throughout 2020, city officials worked on plans to launch scooters in a metro area with more than 8 million residents.
The Lime scooters are expected to arrive in the Bronx by early summer, and will expand throughout the borough during the one-year program. After the first year, transit officials will evaluate if other parts of the city should allow the battery-powered vehicles to scoot around. E-scooters are not allowed to operate in Manhattan, and that likely won’t change.
In a news release from February the NYC Department of Transportation acknowledged the city’s lag. “New York City is among the last American cities with an e-scooter share program and will benefit tremendously from the lessons learned across the country and the world,” the release stated.
Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, and Portland, have built out permitted scooter programs to deal with sidewalk clutter, dangerous riding, and parking issues.
New York isn’t a stranger to ride-sharing. It’s offered the Citi Bike program since 2013, but only pedal-powered bicycles are available to rent.