New York City and London Commence Scooter Trials

New York City, New York, USA and London, UK 

New York City’s days as one of the last remaining holdouts in the dockless electric scooter boom is finally at an end. The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the selection of Bird, Lime, and VeoRide as the participants in its inaugural e-scooter pilot. 

The companies are expected to begin operations in the Bronx by early summer with 1,000 scooters each. The pilot is only expected to last for one year, but DOT has the option to renew the licenses at the end of the term. The department also said it expects most scooter rides to cost less than US$5 (A$6.50) for customers on average. 

It’s been over a year since New York State finally lifted its ban on throttle-based electric bikes and scooters, removing the last obstacle that kept the scooter companies at bay from the largest and possibly most lucrative market in the country. Since 2017, companies like Bird, Lime, Spin, Scoot, and others have deployed hundreds of thousands of Chinese-made e-scooters in cities across the world — and yet New York City stubbornly remained scooter-free because of the state law barring their use. 

After the first year, assuming everything goes well, the city will expand the service area to new neighborhoods and will allow the participating companies to increase their number of scooters in operation to 2,000 each. 

The permit winners include two big names — Bird and Lime — and one smaller one, Chicago-based VeoRide, which offers both standing and sit-down versions of its scooters. All three will be barred from using “gig” labor to charge and rebalance their scooters under the rules of the pilot. 

London Also Announces Three Trial Companies 

Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a 12 month trial that will start almost immediately. This will be complicated by the fact that only 11 of London’s 33 Boroughs, which are local bureaucracies that each administer a small area within London, have decided to participate in the trial. Three more have agreed to be ‘ride through’ zones but users won’t be able to start of finish their journeys there. 

The three companies selected to participate in the trials are Lime, Tier and Dott. The same three companies are already operating in Paris. 

The use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads remains illegal in the UK. 

A longer version of the New York information was first published on The Verge 

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