According to a recent survey conducted by Hoboken, 74.5 percent of respondents want an electric scooter sharing program in town, though the program has received criticism by residents and officials who have called it unsafe and dangerous.
In a city of more than 50,000, approximately 2,100 people participated in the survey conducted by the city’s Department of Transportation and Parking between Oct. 23 and Nov.10. it was a way for the city to solicit feedback on its six-month pilot program with Lime which ended Nov. 20 and had more than 200 dockless scooters on city streets.
The survey results will guide future e-scooter sharing programs, according to the city which launched a city council working committee to come up with short-term and long-term recommendations regarding a potential e-scooter program.
The city’s pilot program began with two companies, Lime which offered standing electric scooters, and Ojo which offered seated electric scooters.
The city terminated its contract with Ojo in September after an underage rider struck a mother and her child.
People have questioned the safety of the program, noting difficulties with enforcement and education of the city’s laws. The dockless nature of the program reportedly made it difficult for people with disabilities to walk on city sidewalks.
The city hired two micro-mobility enforcement officers after renegotiating its contract with Lime to provide more education and funding.
The same concerns have been voiced in several communities throughout the country.
In Elizabeth where Lime recently launched a pilot program, a 16-year-old boy riding a Lime scooter was struck and killed by a tow truck, becoming the first person killed while riding a shared electric scooter in the state.
By the numbers
Among those who responded, 93 percent were Hoboken residents. Sixty-six percent said they had ridden a scooter at least once during the pilot program. Less then half were regular scooter riders who rode a scooter at least 10 times.
When asked if the e-scooter sharing program should continue in Hoboken, 48.5 percent of respondents agreed. Twenty-six percent agreed, but with improvements to the program, and 25 percent disagreed. Of those who disagreed, the majority felt the program was too dangerous.
Seventy-seven percent indicated that before e-scooters were available, they had never ridden a bike in Hoboken, and 79 percent said they had never ridden a Jersey Bike before the e-scooter pilot.
If the survey results are any indication, the program could help reduce the city’s carbon footprint because 73 percent reported taking cabs and ride-hailing less often during the pilot. Sixty percent reported driving less often during the pilot. Seventeen percent of riders said they would have driven, and 55 percent would have taken a car-sharing service if e-scooters were not available.
Of 1,391 respondents, 163 said they have reduced the number of cars owned by their households or delayed the purchase of one due to scooters, and another 203 said they would consider it.
A majority of respondents felt the program made it easier to get from point A to point B. Sixty-four percent said that they agreed or strongly agreed that e-scooters make it easy to get around, and 73 percent agreed or strongly agreed that e-scooters made it easier to connect to public transit.
Among e-scooter users, 49 percent said they used e-scooters to connect to public transit at least once a week.
Of the 84 business owners and managers surveyed, 72 said they or their employees used e-scooters to get to work, and 55 said their customers used them to get to their business. Additionally, 60 percent of 120 business owners and managers agreed that e-scooters made it easier for people to reach their business.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they agreed or strongly agreed that e-scooters should be better regulated, and 60 percent said that they would like to see more enforcement in a future e-scooter program.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would be more encouraged to ride e-scooters if there were safer places to ride.
Eighty-eight percent said they would feel safer riding in the street if there were protected bike lanes.
Over the six-month program, there were a total of 673,990 e-scooter trips taken by more than 82,000 people. At peak levels, there were more than 15 rides per scooter per day.
The majority of trips were taken on the south waterfront and Sinatra drive with a total of 191,000 trips. Washington Street saw 86,070 trips. River Street saw 48,915 trips. Observer Highway saw 46,106 trips, and Hudson Street saw 39,195 trips.
“The survey paints a broader picture that Hoboken residents thoroughly enjoy accessing a new, convenient way to get around over the past six months, and that the overwhelming majority would like the program to continue,” said Senior Government Relations Director at Lime Phil Jones. “As the first city in New Jersey to operate scooters, we are grateful to the City of Hoboken and its residents for welcoming our innovative transportation option, and look forward to continuing to serve the people of Hoboken in the future.”