Launched in 2021 and expanded this past summer, the East Bronx Shared E-Scooter Pilot Program is being touted a great success by the New York City Department of Transportation in a report issued this past Monday by the agency, and will become permanent and hopefully expand across the city.
According to the data gathered over the course of twelve months, over 1.3 million rides were logged by 86,000 riders utilizing a fleet of 6,000 e-scooters provided by Lime, Bird, and Veo, with no fatalities during the pilot period in the East Bronx.
“From Soundview to Wakefield, thanks to e-scooters from three different
companies, residents availed themselves of a completely new form of
transportation that got them from point A to point B — or to subways, bus
stops, and ferry transit hubs. Over 1.3 million safe rides later, the pilot has
been a great success,” said Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.
The neighborhoods with the highest rate of trips started are Van Nest/Morris Park/Westchester Square at 15% of total trips followed by Williamsbridge/Olinville at 12%, Pelham Parkway at 11%, and Eastchester/Edenwald/Baychester at 10%.
Many of these trips originated or ended at or near subway stations and transit hubs as well as commercial corridors connecting residents in an area that has limited modes of public transportation outside of bus services despite being served by 3 subway lines.
While some area residents were vocal in their complaints that the program would be a disaster and would lead to fatalities, only 152 crashes were reported out of the 1.3 million trips and of those, 70 percent were minor and required no visit to a hospital or doctor.
“Riders with three or fewer trips accounted for 17 percent of crashes where experience was noted while the median level of rider experience was 18 trips. However, 80 percent of crashes with available details did not include a collision with a motor vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, or other vehicle type. Findings show a low crash rate overall,” the report from DOT cites.
“The success of the e-scooter program is undeniable,” said Shawn Garcia, the Bronx and Uptown organizer for Transportation Alternatives.
He added, “With over a million rides taken in its first year — of which 85% were from communities of color — e-scooters are connecting communities left out by our transit system. As DOT builds on these successes, we urge them to invest in the infrastructure needed in the Bronx, especially in the East Bronx, to protect riders from crashes. Just 1.06% of New York City’s protected bike infrastructure is in the East Bronx, according to Spatial Equity NYC.”
One of the requirements for the pilot was to provide discounted rides to low-income residents in order to make the service equitable and accessible to all. According to the report, participants in the program for low-income residents averaged 25 trips during the 12 month period versus the system-wide average of 11 trips indicating that such riders made good use of the service.
As the city begins to make the pilot program permanent in the East Bronx and expand it across areas of the city, the agency needs to ensure that City Island is added to the service area which was the only community within the East Bronx that was omitted from the pilot.
Many naysayers said that no one would use the service but over 1.3 million rides by 86,000 users indicate otherwise and shows a strong demand for such services and if all goes according to plan, they are here to stay.