100 E-Scooter Rentals Coming To Bismarck. Cool With That?
Just a few months back I read a story about cities around the world coming to terms with e-scooter rental companies such as Lime and Bird. It's a pretty interesting subject, but I had no firsthand experience to base any real opinion. Well that's about to change.
On Tuesday, Bismarck City Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with Bird, a California electric scooter company. Bird will now drop off 100 of their electric scooters in various strategic locations across Bismarck. The agreement is set to begin in April.
After downloading the Bird app, you use your smart device to locate and activate an electric scooter and off you go! You pay through the app and when you get to your destination, you just leave the scooter there and go on your merry way.
Here we see a lonely scooter striking up a conversation with a street pole.
Now this scooter may just hang out there until the next rental rider hops on or it may also be retrieved for recharge by a Bismarck Bird freelancer. CBS News has this scooter retriever's story
But somebody's got to recharge all those scooters every night. So, the scooter companies employ an army of freelancers, like William Neher in Washington, D.C.
"I've been able to make anywhere between $100 to $300 a night," Neher said.
"And then you're responsible for getting them back out on the street the next morning?" asked Pogue.
"That is one big part of it. I'm about to load up at least maybe a dozen in my Prius ... I call it a clown car for scooters, quite honestly!"
An app tells Neher where to put the scooters back on the streets, and he releases the scooters at the drop points.
When this rental scooter craze first began, companies would literally just drive into town and drop off scooters without so much as notifying the city. But over the last few years there has been electric scooter backlash and outright bans in many major cities around the world. Why would anyone want to ban the harmless scooter?
"There are other cities that are also upset that these companies just came and dumped their product, and we'd all collectively be left to deal with the impacts of what they were doing."
Yes, the impacts. People can leave the scooters anywhere, and sometimes that's in the middle of the sidewalk or on people's lawns. That carelessness infuriates other citizens to the point that scooter vandalism has been an ongoing problem.
Well at least Bismarck is on board from the beginning. Bismarck will even have to change an ordinance that currently bans motorized scooters in the downtown area.
So expect to see 100 of these Bird electric scooters all over Bismarck. The peak speed is about 15 miles per hour and will automatically shutdown if driven out of it designated range. So no day trip to New Salem. Is it just more capitalistic clutter or is this a move forward in low emission transportation. Of course electric scooter company representatives attribute the backlash as a historical repeat of the first cars versus the horse and buggies. That seems a bit of a grand statement.
So what will you say when you walk out of your house and find a scooter left out on your lawn? Maybe just hop on and give it a spin! After of course, you digitally sign the release form to free Bird from any responsibility for you breaking every darn bone in your body.
I say we should go into this with an open mind...Bird's providing everything on their end. We have nothing to lose except our dignity and maybe a couple front teeth.
I'm curious if this concept has any sustainability.