DOT launches e-scooter program in eastern Queens following successful East Bronx pilot

An e-scooter corral in the East Bronx
Photo courtesy of the DOT

Expect to see more e-scooters operating on the streets of eastern Queens.

The New York City Department of Transportation launched its e-scooter program in eastern Queens on Thursday, June 27. Docking portals are now being installed in both northeast and southeast Queens, and the program will go into full effect in outer Queens later this month. The expansion into Queens comes approximately three years after the DOT successfully launched it in New York with a pilot program in the East Bronx.

The eastern Queens component will cover about 20 square miles—from Flushing and Auburndale in the north, to Rochdale Village and Springfield Gardens in the south. The docks will be located within the confines of four community board districts—7, 8, 11 and 12.

The DOT estimates the program expansion will provide critical connections to major transit and commercial hubs for roughly 600,000 residents. All three of the e-scooter companies currently operating in the Bronx – Bird, Lime and Veo- are included in the Queens expansion. 

Additionally, for the first three weeks of the expansion, the companies are conducting daily in-person outreach in the expansion zones.

All new riders must do an in-app safety training, a quiz and provide age verification. A beginner mode also limits a new rider’s first three trips to a speed limit of 10 mph and a cap on riding during overnight hours. So far, the DOT has recorded less than one crash per 10,000 trips since the program was launched in the East Bronx.

NYC DOT released a map of the full-service area for Queens-based riders. Photo courtesy of the DOT

The DOT studied the area before launching the program in eastern Queens.

Last year, the agency set up an online feedback portal and began conducting street surveys in the proposed service zones. Starting last fall, the agency also hosted planning meetings with elected officials, community boards, business improvement districts and other local agencies to educate residents about the program and get feedback on the location of parking corrals for the scooters.

The DOT presented the public with a list of corral locations earlier this year and notified residents about discounted rider pricing options. New Yorkers who receive or qualify for SNAP benefits and other government assistance programs are eligible for discounted e-scooter rates. Additionally, all companies must provide wheelchair-accessible scooters for residents with ambulatory disabilities, which is a continuation of a policy implemented in the Bronx pilot. 

The Queens expansion covers several Tier 1 and Tier 2 priority investment areas, which NYC Streets Plan defines as city areas with higher percentages of non-white and low-income populations, higher population density and lower levels of past DOT investment.

Since the service launched in August 2021, more than 160,000 riders in the East Bronx have taken about 4.1 million trips. 

“E-scooter share has arrived in eastern Queens and we are very excited to build upon the successful East Bronx pilot,” NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said. “This expansion delivers a popular, safe and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation to underserved neighborhoods in Queens.”

Whitney Barrat, president of the Downtown Jamaica Partnership BID, welcomed the program and said Jamaica’s workers and residents would benefit from it.

“We’re thrilled that the e-scooter share program will create an additional means of travel for workers, residents and visitors to get to and from Downtown Jamaica. As a critical economic and cultural hub, our commercial corridor can only thrive when patrons have easy access to be able to shop, linger and return,” Barrat said.