On October 13, 2023, the Department of Transportation announced the city’s e-scooter sharing program would expand to eastern Queens in 2024. The expansion follows the growth of the e-scooter program in the East Bronx, where over 2.9 million trips have been taken since the pilot program launched in August 2021.
Through the program, riders can use e-scooters from Bird, Lime and Veo, which are all operating in the program’s East Bronx section. The coverage area is roughly 20 square miles from Flushing and Aubrundale to Rochdale Village and Springfield Gardens. The areas include Priority Investment Areas, which are locations with higher percentages of low-income or non-white populations, higher population density, and lack of previous investment from the Department of Transportation. The expansion will benefit approximately 600,000 Queens residents.
In addition to the expansion, Transportation announced the launch of a new online portal for resident feedback. Outreach teams will conduct on-street engagement in eastern Queens and hold briefings with community boards and other impacted stakeholders. The agency will be looking for recommendations for placement of designated e-scooter parking corrals and aiming to educate residents about the program’s features. Transportation will follow up in the winter and next spring to discuss the selected locations for parking corrals with community boards and elected officials.
The service aims to launch in the second half of 2024. The agency will increase public outreach efforts to teach residents about how the program works, and how to qualify for discounted rates for New Yorkers who receive federal, state or local assistance programs. The companies will also be required to make wheelchair-accessible scooters available for rent.
Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez stated, “Shared e-scooter service can play an important role in providing sustainable options to connect eastern Queens commuters to transit hubs, commercial corridors, and other neighborhood destinations. In the Bronx, our e-scooter share program has been widely popular, with a strong safety and ridership record, and we look forward to learning more from Queens residents about how these services can make their commutes faster and more convenient.”
Council Majority Whip and Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Selvena N. Brooks-Powers stated, “E-scooters have the potential to provide equitable and environmentally-friendly transportation alternatives, particularly in our outer borough transit deserts. I look forward to following this public engagement process and working alongside DOT to ensure the expansion of e-scooter sharing benefits our communities in eastern Queens.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)