Hoboken City Council to vote on new e-scooter sharing contract

Vendors will provide the city with more funds for enforcement, education, and infrastructure

E-scooters are a popular mode of transportation in Hoboken.
E-scooters are a popular mode of transportation in Hoboken.

On Aug. 7. the Hoboken City Council will vote on a new proposed contract with the city’s two electric-scooter sharing companies, Lime and OjO. This, after the city announced the terms of a newly negotiated contract for the remainder of the six-month pilot program. The council meeting will be at 7 p.m. at city hall.

In July, the council passed a resolution urging the city to renegotiate the contract, which the city said it was in the midst of doing.

According to a press release from the city, Hoboken will receive a per-ride fee of $0.35 to invest in enforcement and education. It will also construct new infrastructure, like protected bike lanes, as part of the new contract. The contract lasts through the pilot period, ending Nov. 30.

“Our pilot electric scooter programs have provided residents with an additional, green transportation option to travel within our City,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “This amended contract will help provide funds dedicated specifically for enforcement to help ensure rules and regulations are being followed, as well as important infrastructure upgrades, including protected bike lanes to provide safer roads for all users. I’m hopeful these tools will help improve the e-scooter experience in Hoboken as we evaluate the future of the program.”

“It is great to hear the City of Hoboken is allocating a portion of this additional e-scooter revenue toward protected bike lanes which provide the safe infrastructure that bicyclists and scooter riders need and want,” said President of Bike Hoboken Chris Adair. “Giving people a safe, dedicated place to ride minimizes injury and is a proven method of decreasing sidewalk riding.”

The initial contract for the six-month pilot program, negotiated by the city and approved by the city council in April, has netted the city approximately $15,000 from the companies.

The amended contract could provide up to $100,000 or more for the education, enforcement, and transportation infrastructure upgrades and up to $500,000 for those upgrades in a potential 12-month period, according to the city’s press release.

New terms

The proposed scooter agreement with Lime and OjO includes a payment to Hoboken of $0.35 cents per scooter trip to support increased enforcement of scooter regulations and Vision Zero infrastructure improvements. Vision Zero is a program that seeks to reduce traffic fatalities. The e-scooter companies will contribute $0.20 cents per ride. Users will contribute $0.15 cents per ride.

The existing charge to the user remain unchanged. It costs $1.00 to activate a Lime e-scooter with a fee of $0.29 per minute. It costs $1.25 to activate an OjO e-scooter with a fee of $0.29 per minute.

The contract will require the companies to mark each scooter with an ID that will help with enforcement of the city’s laws. It will also require the companies to create a shared data system with the city for user violations.

Lime has pledged to implement a “Lime Heroes” program, which will contribute funds to the Hoboken Community Center, a local nonprofit,

The Hoboken Community Center, formerly Hoboken’s YMCA, currently provides housing and resources to low-income men.

E-scooter users will have the option to round up the cost of each ride they take to the nearest dollar or two dollars, which will be go directly to the Hoboken Community Center.

“The Hoboken Community Center manages a housing program that provides over 90 low and moderate income men with affordable housing, and we are beginning the rehabilitation of a historic building that will serve all of Hoboken with new recreational and cultural programs,” said Hoboken Community Center President Ken Nilsen. “Support from the Lime Hero program will benefit both these important missions, and the cooperation of Mayor Bhalla and Lime to support this important community resource is greatly appreciated.”

A popular way to get around

Since the launch of the e-scooter pilot program in late May, more than 55,000 unique riders have taken more than 275,000 rides.

In a survey sent out to Hoboken riders last month, 71 percent of riders use scooters to-and-from transit hubs, and 28 percent of riders would have driven a car or taken a ride-sharing service for their most recent trip if a scooter was not available. Seventy-six percent of surveyed riders of Lime e-scooters and 67 percent of OjO riders identified as Hoboken residents.

Since the program launched, members of the public have expressed concerns with safety and enforcement, but the Hoboken Police Department and e-scooter companies have collaborated to implement safe scooter riding, rider education, and enforcement of regulations.

In July, Lime implemented a slow zone along the Hoboken waterfront which slowed scooters to eight miles per hour in the pedestrian-heavy area. OjO banned scooters from the waterfront altogether.

Lime, OjO, and city staff have tracked violations and reported non-compliant users to the e-scooter companies which then suspend or terminate accounts. So far, the companies have banned more than 125 users for violations, including underage riding, tandem riding, and sidewalk riding.

The companies have also deployed foot patrol teams to collect illegally parked scooters to help keep sidewalks clear and implemented an ID scan to verify that users are over 18 years old.

For updates on this and other stories keep checking www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.