NewarkGo, the city’s first shared bike and scooter program, launches as six-month pilot

City hopes making 2,000 bikes and e-scooters for affordable, short-term rental will improve access to transit, jobs and city services

NewarkGo, the city’s first-ever shared bike and e-scooter pilot program, will launch a six-month pilot this month, providing up to 2,000 affordable electric scooters and bicycles and linking Newarkers to jobs, schools, housing, health care facilities, the transit network and other essential services, Mayor Ras Baraka said Tuesday.

Bird Rides, based in Santa Monica, California, and Chicago-based Veoride will be awarded permits to operate the short-term, shared micromobility service that will be available to residents and visitors citywide. 

Bird and Veo, which will each offer up to 1,000 e-scooters and bikes, currently operate in more than 250 and 40 cities.

“While our schools, offices and businesses continue to reopen, NewarkGo can help Newarkers access all that our city has to offer,” Baraka said. “This safe, fast and affordable service is the first new mode of transportation our city has seen in decades, and I look forward to partnering with Bird and Veo to build stronger connections between communities and open up new avenues of opportunity for people in every corner of this city.”

Newark officials said the city’s shared dockless bike and e-scooter program will ensure that operators in Newark build on the best practices developed in cities across the country. They will provide service to communities in every ward, including communities with lower incomes and longer commutes; discounted ride options for qualifying residents; alternative rental services for people without access to cellphones or credit cards; and adaptive bike designs to accommodate people of different ages and abilities.

Janette Sadik-Khan of Bloomberg Associates, who served as New York City Transportation Commissioner and launched the nation’s largest bike share program, Citi Bike, in 2013, said Newark was on the right track.

“These bikes and scooters represent an entirely new transportation system for Newark, making it more accessible, equitable and affordable than ever to get around,” she said. “Mayor Baraka is setting a national example for cities during the recovery by bringing more opportunities within reach of every neighborhood.”

Newark officials said Bird and Veo will both conduct comprehensive outreach and educational programs that will explain details of the program, including how to rent and return bikes and e-scooters, rider trainings and helmet giveaways. These campaigns will build on the city’s ongoing rider-education and safety events, including a partnership with New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition, which provided a series of virtual and in-person events at locations around the city. 

The City of Newark’s Department of Engineering oversaw the installation of bike and e-scooter parking corrals — dedicated the street and sidewalk space in downtown and throughout the city for Bird and Veo bikes and e-scooters, providing predictability for riders as well as dedicated parking areas. 

NewarkGo is designed to support key goals of Mayor Baraka’s Newark Forward Agenda:  

  • A safer city: Promoting social distancing in the time of COVID-19;  
  • An empowered city: Generating foot traffic for local businesses, encouraging connections to our vibrant neighborhoods, and expanding the range of opportunities for residents; 
  • An equitable city: Providing convenient and affordable transportation linking underserved populations to jobs, housing, and other essential services;  
  • A collaborative city: Reducing road congestion, parking demand, and toxic emissions to enhance safety, promote walkability, and achieve sustainability.  

More information about the how to rent and safely ride e-scooters and bikes, the corrals, public outreach and educational campaigns, and other components about the program can be found at the city’s program website.