In an effort to increase transportation options in New York City, the Department of Transportation is inviting e-scooter companies to operate with a request for expressions of interest. Potential companies are required to provide information on their safety and operations, so the Department of Transportation can determine which companies are best suited for the city.
The metrics the city will look at include experience, safety, operations and parking management, accessibility, equity and outreach, fair labor practices, and consumer protection. This pilot will take place throughout the city, except in Manhattan—which was exempted from scooter-share under the state law that recently legalized e-bikes and e-scooters.
Scooter companies have shown enthusiasm for the pilot, with Lime, Superpedestrian, Voi, Spin, and Bird currently touting their qualifications. The target date to start the scooter pilot is March 1, 2021. Budget cuts, however, could prevent the program from starting on time or at all.
According to the city council, “The greater the geographic size, number of scooters, and number of vendors, the more a pilot will demand from agency staff or a contractor. Different approaches for shared systems using city streets require extensive city resources. Designated parking areas require more up front planning, sophisticated data management and analysis, while a fully free-floating model requires more inspections, vendor management and constituent complaint resolution.”
While its unclear which companies will ultimately be selected, the Department of Transportation is seeking a partner that has operated in large population centers. One of the questions companies are asked is in regard to their experiences in cities with populations over 400,000 people. Companies that have that experience are also asked to list every death, serious injury, and legal action filed against them since 2018.
In addition to the metrics the Department of Transportation is looking at, city regulations might also come into play—particularly when looking at establishing a parking system. The scooter companies are also going to have to be responsible for taking care of the vehicles that public the public right-of-way or pile up in big numbers on one block or intersection.
The expansion of e-scooters in New York City could offer residents and visitors additional transportation options, but it’s likely accidents, injuries, and deaths will happen. For more information on the latest e-scooter news, visit the Rideshare Law Group blog.