Lime E-Scooter Pilot Ends 11/20 in Hoboken: What’s Going to Happen Next?

Written by:

It may seem like e-scooters have been around forever in the Mile Square, but the upcoming November 20th expiration date is a sober reminder that Hoboken’s e-scooter pilot program has fulfilled its agreed-upon six-month timeline — and yes, that means Lime scooters will no longer be available as of November 20th. As our city prepares to say goodbye to the e-scooters for the time being, let’s take a look back at how these six months have been, check out results from Hoboken Girl‘s scooter poll, and more. Keep reading for more on the future of e-scooters in the Mile Square.

e scooters

Some Background

When e-scooter contracts were initially greenlighted in Hoboken last May, it was a big deal. The  Mile Square became the first city in New Jersey to take the motorized scooter plunge, offering the vehicles as a viable method of transportation. Hoboken joined cities like San Francisco {the scooter program launched in 2012}, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles {launched in 2017}, and Portland, Oregon {also launched in 2019}; abroad, e-scooters are popular too, with European cities like Berlin, Madrid, and Paris considered as epicenters of huge fleets of shared electric scooters.

The passing of the e-scooter ordinance made Hoboken one of the only cities in the Tristate area to allow motorized scooters.

At the time, Lime Scooters and OjO Electric were granted contracts, while OjO shared designated docking stations with Hudson Bike Share and Lime scooters were dockless.

For a full timeline on e-scooters in Hoboken, check out our month-by-month scooter breakdown here.

See More: Sushi Speakeasy ‘Sushi by Bou’ Coming to Jersey City

The Launch

You may recall that the e-scooter pilot program in Hoboken did not launch without its difficulties… and controversies.

In August, the first alcohol-related scooter incident was recorded. However, according to Police Chief Ken Ferrante at the time, the operator of the vehicle was only “suspected” to have been under the influence of alcohol and it does not seem like any charges were officially filed. The driver allegedly fell off of a scooter and sustained fractures and other non-life threatening injuries.

A month later, OjO scooters were officially banned throughout the City in response to a sidewalk-scooter incident that left a mother and her infant knocked to the ground. The mother suffered a bruise from the incident and tweeted about her encounter with the underage driver.

“At the same time, the safety and well-being of our residents is my number one priority. That’s why today, after listening to the concerns of residents, and an evaluation of the OjO scooter program over the past three months, I’ve decided to terminate the contract,” Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla said at the time. “We expect that any transportation company, including e-scooters, provide adequate education, enforcement and adapt with the appropriate technology to safely operate on our streets. Unfortunately, this has not occurred with OjO.”

The decision was then made to terminate the City’s contract with OjO.

By October, police had recorded a total of three alcohol-related incidents, two of which culminated in DWIs for e-scooter operators. The first e-scooter DWI was Nicholas Cutrone, 26, of Hoboken who was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and refusal to submit to a breathalyzer. A week later, Erin Salvin, 26, of Morganville, was charged with DWI in a school zone, reckless driving, and several motor vehicle summonses after crashing an e-scooter into a vehicle as it was leaving a parking spot.

Then finally, in October — about a month before the e-scooter pilot program expired — Hoboken announced the introduction of Micromobility Code Enforcement Officers {MCEOs}. The MCEOs see to enforcing all ordinances and regulations for “micromobility devices,” which includes e-scooters, bikes, and more.

For a full look at the e-scooter rules and regulations, check out our post here.

The Numbers

So, how did e-scooters fare during the six-month-long pilot program? According to Russell Murphy, the communications manager at Lime, users had taken more than 640,000 trips on Lime scooters and scooter trips ended up replacing 213,000 car trips, according to a Hoboken rider survey.

For context, Hoboken has about 50,000 residents and when the program started, was granted 250 scooters, and ended up with 300 scooters total.

Read More: New Hoboken Restaurant Called IL Tavolo di’ Palmisano Coming to 7th + Clinton

Results of Our {Unofficial} Scooter Poll

Now that we got all that background information stuff out of the way, let’s look at the results of Hoboken Girl‘s scooter pollDisclaimer: Our poll was completely unofficial and is not to be confused with the official poll administered by the City of Hoboken. But we did have over 2000 voters.

For the question How do you feel about scooters in general?, 52.3% of voters said, “love them.” Thirty-four percent of voters said, “hate them,” and the remaining 13.5% voted that they were “indifferent.”

For the question Do you want scooters to continue after November 20th?, 59.7% of voters said, “yes” and 40.2% voted, “no.”

For the question Do you think scooter rules are being enforced well?, 29.9% of voters said, “yes,” and 70% voted, “no.”

For the question, Do you plan on using scooters in the winter?, 43.4% of voters said, “yes,” and 56.5% voted, “no.”

For the question, How often do you use scooters?, 34.5% of voters said, “Less than 2x’s per week.” Comparatively, 23.5% of voters said,”More than 2x’s per week,” and 41.8% voted, “Never.”

The aforementioned poll was administered on Hobokengirl.com. You can find the original post here. The survey allowed for users to vote multiple times.

Another survey by Councilman Michael Russo produced 69 percent of respondents wanting a continuance of the program. Most, in line with our Hoboken Girl poll, said it should only continue if the scooter technology or restrictions are updated to keep the general public safe.

The Future of E-Scooters

There’s no uncertainty here: e-scooters will be gone from the Mile Square in just a week on November 20th. However, there is hope for scooter lovers. Mayor Ravi Bhalla recently released a statement on the e-scooters, saying:

“We strive to be leaders in providing sustainable transportation options within our Mile Square that enhance mobility for residents,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “E-scooters have proven to be a very popular first-mile, last-mile connection for residents to get around our city, and when used responsibly, provide important quality of life improvements for residents. As a city, we’ve gained valuable first-hand knowledge of what has worked with the program, and the safety and enforcement tools that can be improved for a better riding experience for users and non-users of the program.

Understanding the legitimate concerns from residents regarding safety as well as the feedback from many users asking for e-scooters to continue, I’ve asked the Chair of the City Council’s Transportation and Parking Subcommittee, Mike Russo and Councilmember Tiffanie Fisher to convene a working committee with my Director of Transportation, Ryan Sharp, to come up with both short term and long term recommendations regarding a potential e-scooter pilot extension and longer term program, along with other shared mobility services. I thank Councilmembers Russo and Fisher for their interest in the program and improving all modes of transit within Hoboken.”

Lime, on the other hand, seems confident that their contract with the City of Hoboken will be renewed. Russell Murphy, the communications manager at Lime, said, “This collaboration is a positive step for the thousands of Hoboken residents that have come to rely on scooters as a convenient and sustainable way to get around.”

On another note, the aforementioned senior director of government relations at Lime, Phil Jones told hMag, “As we’ve demonstrated over the past few months, Lime works hard to respond to concerns from the City and Council Members and we’re eager to continue building on this relationship. At the same time, it’s impressive how quickly Hobokenites have adopted scooters into their daily routines and many may face challenges readjusting without scooters available.”

Jones continued, “We’ve truly enjoyed serving Hoboken and its residents with convenient, sustainable transportation options. Given the overwhelming popularity of the pilot program, we are hopeful that we can continue the program moving forward.”

Jones also cited how frequently Hoboken riders came to rely on e-scooters for transportation. “Since a third of all scooter rides replace car trips in Hoboken, residents may, unfortunately, see the return of increased congestion and emissions without scooter service available. It also means those that have come to rely on them will find it more difficult to connect with transit, meaning longer or more expensive commutes,” Jones added.

So for the time being, Lime is officially leaving Hoboken as of 11/20, and the earliest it could be reinstated is December 5th {the date after the next City Council meeting could potentially discuss an extension} — but if anything should happen in the future either way, we will definitely keep you updated. 

 

How do you feel about the removal of e-scooters now the pilot’s ended? Sound off in the comments below!


Did you know: We started a podcast about all things news and lifestyle in Hoboken + Jersey City! Listen to the latest episode of Tea on the Hudson here and subscribe.

We release new episodes every Tuesday!


Written by:

Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer who specializes in sustainability and health and wellness content. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton.