Economics / Transportation

Bird’s dockless e-scooters land in Baltimore

The scooter-sharing service begins with a fleet in Inner Harbor and Fells Point.

Bird's dockless scooters are now in Baltimore. (Courtesy photo)
Updated with additional information. (6/28/18, 2:48 p.m.)

Electric scooter sharing arrived in Baltimore on Thursday.
Bird deployed dockless scooters in Inner Harbor and Fells Point, according to a spokesperson.

The Los Angeles company’s e-scooters can be located through its app, and unlocked with a QR code via smartphone. After a ride, the scooters can be dropped off without a station. Rent costs $1 to start a ride, and 15 cents a minute after that.
The e-scooters, which have been reported to reach speeds of up to 15 mph, are touted as a transportation alternative to cars that can help reduce congestion.
The scooters’ arrival marks the first sign in Baltimore of dockless technology, which has been showing up in other cities like D.C. The city has a bikeshare program with docking stations, which was paused and relaunched last year after initial issues with maintenance and theft, but appears to be back on track.
In other cities, dockless scooter companies have faced criticism for crowding public areas. San Francisco and Santa Monica adopted regulations after scooters appeared there. Last year, D.C. launched a pilot for dockless transportation companies which allowed legal operation for bike and e-scooter companies on a trial basis, and is continuing to gather info. In a statement, the company said it aims to “work closely with all of the cities in which we operate and look forward to doing so in Baltimore so that Bird is a reliable and affordable transportation option.”
Bird said its scooters are only available during the day, and will retrieve the scooters at night for charging and maintenance.
The company plans to expand the fleet in Baltimore as ridership expands “to serve all of Baltimore’s residents and communities,” a spokesperson said. In general, it adds scooters when the existing fleet is being ridden three or more times per day.
Founded by former Lyft and Uber exec Travis VanderZanden, the company wants to be in 50 cities by the end of the year.

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