NYC DOT is set to launch e-scooter program in eastern Queens this summer

Photo by Emil Cohen

E-scooters will soon be another part of the daily commute for Queens residents, as first reported by amNY.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced the launch of an e-scooter sharing program coming to eastern Queens this summer.

The program is based on the successful launch of a similar program in the East Bronx. It will cover eastern Queens, from the northeastern parts, including Flushing, to the southeastern parts, including Springfield Gardens and Rochdale Village

The DOT released a map of the proposed e-scooter sharing expansion in eastern Queens. Photo courtesy of the NYC DOT

Commuters in the East Bronx have already recorded 3.8 million trips among more than 157,000 recorded user accounts since the service launched in August 2021. The program expansion into Queens will provide connections to major transportation and commercial hubs for an estimated 600,000 residents. 

The DOT has released an approximate timeline for the 2024 planning, outreach and installation of the program in Queens. By May, the DOT expects to follow up presentations to community boards, and by early to mid-June, the DOT will begin to build installations. Finally, by late June, the program is expected to launch in the southern part of the service area. 

Last year, NYC DOT opened an online feedback portal and conducted on-street surveying in the proposed service zone as part of its public outreach program. The Queens e-scooter program will include all three companies currently operating in the Bronx, including Bird, Lime and Veo. 

New Yorkers who receive or qualify for local, state or federal assistance programs are eligible for discounted e-scooter rates. Additionally, the e-scooter program is wheelchair friendly, as all companies participating in the program must provide wheelchair-accessible scooters for rental to residents with disabilities.

The DOT has taken various safety precautions to ensure the safety of riders as a part of the e-scooter program. Currently, riders are required to participate in in-app safety training and age verification for new riders. Additionally, a beginner mode feature on the scooters limits a new rider’s first three trips to be speed-limited at 10 miles per hour, and they are unable to start the scooters during overnight hours. 

So far, the DOT has recorded few serious injuries and no fatalities through the program. Since the program launched, there have been fewer than one crash reported per 10,000 trips, according to the DOT. 

The program covers several designated Tier 1 and Tier 2 priority investment areas, which, according to DOT, are city areas with higher percentages of non-white and low-income populations, higher job and population density and lower levels of previous NYC DOT investment.

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriquez called the expansion an “equitable way to bring a popular, safe and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation to underserved neighborhoods in Queens.”