2019 was good to Bird in DC — yet it's preparing for its escooter permit to end - Technical.ly DC

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Jan. 17, 2020 2:04 pm

2019 was good to Bird in DC — yet it’s preparing for its escooter permit to end

The escooter operator shared some local data and trends from last year, plus thoughts on getting the boot this March.
A fleet of dockless Bird escooters.

A fleet of dockless Bird escooters.

(Courtesy photo)

Bird had quite a year in the District to end the decade.

The Santa Monica, California-based escooter operator shared some data and trends from 2019 in D.C., where it reported that 89% of its local riders said they used Bird escooters to go about their daily lives, and nearly half said they use the company’s escooters to travel to and from work.

Bird did not provide numbers on how many individual riders used its service, or how many trips were taken. We also don’t know how its ridership stacks up against local competitors.

The company did say, however, that D.C. riders use of Bird helped replace more than 430,000 car trips and saved more than 575,000 pounds of carbon.

Some Bird initiatives launched in 2019 include the s.h.a.r.e Safe Streets Tour and the release of Bird Two, the company’s second generation of escooters. The s.h.a.r.e Safe Streets Tour visited 100 cities, where Bird hosted public, immersive and interactive experiences to educate residents on road safety last summer. The tour came right before the company release Bird Two last August, which is an updated escooter fleet that features seamless screws, anti-tipping kickstands, puncture-proof tires and anti-theft encryption tech.

Here are some other D.C.-specific Bird trends from last year, per a press email:

  • July 5 was the most popular day to Bird in the District in 2019.
  • Thursdays are the most popular day to ride in D.C. after work, while Friday is the top weekend day.
  • More than 160,000 D.C. residents signed the Sidewalk, Parking and Traffic Laws pledge to show they’re dedicated to safe and responsible riding.
  • The District was the first city to have Helmet Selfie, a new feature designed to increase helmet usage and improve the safety of riders.
  • D.C. residents flocked to Bird’s rentals program, making it one of the most popular cities in the nation for the program.

Though we have seen escooters flood the streets and sidewalks of every ward, these are the places Bird riders most visited in D.C. in 2019:

  • Whole Foods’ Foggy Bottom location
  • Foggy-Bottom GWU Metro Stop
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • The Wharf
  • National Gallery of Art

Though the company seems to have had much success in D.C. last year, it is one of four escooter operators getting the boot this year after the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced new restrictions to its dockless vehicle sharing program in December. Bird, along with Lime, Razor and Bolt, did not get approved to renew its operating permit.

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Luckily for Bird, DDOT announced earlier this week that it’s extending permits for 2019 dockless escooter operators through March 31 — which means these four escooter operators will have a chance to appeal their permits in order to receive the extension.

“Bird is pleased to have clarity on the appeals process that the District released and supports the city’s decision to extend the pilot program until March 2020,” a Bird spokesperson told Technical.ly. “We look forward to continuing our conversations with the city and remain committed to providing sustainable, safe transportation to residents of the District of Columbia.”

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