Since Lime e-bikes and e-scooters hit the streets on Sept. 21, the people of Tacoma have been scooting for business — to and from work each day — and for pleasure — outpacing runners along Ruston Way. However, those lime and white scooters are now facing off against Bird, a competing e-scooter company.
When Tacoma residents woke up on the morning of Oct. 13, they found a new fleet of sleek black electric scooters clustered in “nests” throughout the downtown core and Old Town, ready to ride.
The e-scooters are part of a 60-day trial which Bird hopes will help, “meet the need for improved transit options that are affordable, and reliable.” Using a Bird will help residents find a last-mile transportation alternative without having to get in a car, thereby reducing traffic and carbon emissions.
So how does Bird work? Simply download the application to locate a nearby e-scooter, upload a photo of your ID (to prove you are over 18), assign a payment method — rides are $1 to start and 20 cents for each minute thereafter — and off you go at 15 miles per hour. When you’re finished, leave the scooter in a public location and use the app to end your ride.
In addition to being convenient and fun, Marlo Sandler, senior manager of government relations for Bird said the e-scooters are great for local businesses.
“One of the things we hear a lot is how this sort of drives economic activity,” she said. “Folks that might not have gone to lunch in a part of town where the parking is much more of a hassle, well now they’re going there. People are also saying that they are noticing a coffee shop along a block when they are out of that big vehicle.”
As a company Bird is still young with only one year in operation, however, its e-scooters can be found in more than 100 communities around the world, and it recently celebrated 10 million unique user rides.
Visit Bird online to learn more about its products and to download the application.