a man and a woman walking down a sidewalk next to a fence: A father and child wearing masks ride on an electric scooter in New York City. Despite no rental options like in many other cities, electric scooters exploded in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images


© Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
A father and child wearing masks ride on an electric scooter in New York City. Despite no rental options like in many other cities, electric scooters exploded in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

  • New York City plans to launch an e-scooter rental pilot program in March 2021. 
  • Many well-known operators like Bird, Lime, Voi, and Lyft will likely compete as part of the Department of Transportation’s bidding process. 
  • Currently, NYC only has fixed-station rental bikes operated by Lyft. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Years after electric scooters launched in cities across the US, its largest city is finally joining the party.

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New York City’s Department of Transportation on Friday issued a request for “expressions of interest” for a shared electric scooter pilot program — which won’t include Manhattan — beginning in March 2021.

For years, the city has boasted Citi Bike, the US’ largest bikeshare (operated by Lyft), but has largely been left out of the dockless bike and scooter wars. Many current operators of fleets throughout the country are expected to apply by the December deadline.

Lime — which now operates Uber’s former JUMP bikes and scooters — Bird, Superpedestrian, Ford-owned Spin, and Voi, a European company, all said they intend to apply. Lyft did not respond to a request for comment. It’s likely other operators also intend to participate.

After the deadline, city officials will review the company’s responses to a lengthy list of questions and equipment demonstrations before selecting operators for the pilot.

Read more: Lime’s CEO explains how the scooter company’s ‘near death experience’ during the pandemic helped set it up to turn a profit next year

We applaud the City and Commissioner Trottenberg for taking this crucial next step in making New York a global leader in micromobility, equitable transportation and street safety,” Maurice Henderson, Bird’s head of government partnerships, said in a statement. 

Lime echoed that sentiment: “We’re excited about working with the City to craft a world-class e-scooter program that prioritizes safety, accessibility and equity,” Phil Jones, the company’s head of government relations, said. “As New Yorkers look for new ways to get around, e-scooters will provide an ideal option for those looking to travel around the City while remaining socially-distant.”

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