A flock of 100 flightless birds will be coming home next month to settle in Enid.
If everything goes according to plan elected officials heard on Thursday night, the city will receive a fleet of birds with a capital B – stand-up electric scooters that can be rented for short trips within the city limits.
The program is slated to launch in Enid on either March 15 or April 1 at no cost to the city, Kate Shoemaker, account executive of Bird Rides Inc., told city commissioners Thursday.
City of Enid
Drivers would register with Bird’s smartphone app, set up a credit card payment, and begin their journey with the scooter next to them. With the app you can also find the closest scooter in the area.
After unlocking one, they scan a QR code with their phone, do a short video tutorial, kick back the kickstand and head off into the distance.
Each trip costs $ 1, with a 30 cents per minute fee, Shoemaker said. Drivers are limited to 18 years and older.
Rides typically last 1 to 4 miles, Shoemaker said, and the scooters have up to 30 miles of battery life. She said drivers shouldn’t normally worry about their scooters dying while driving.
Once the journey is over, people will be instructed where and how to park their vehicles. If parking is improperly done and the manager has to regularly pick up or fix abused vehicles, Bird would provide a number of destinations for the city to share with the public, Shoemaker said.
Bird also encourages riders to wear helmets and would provide a free helmet gift, she said. Scooters can recognize and would give a ride discount if a rider wears a helmet, Shoemaker said.
A locally employed fleet manager would be responsible for maintaining the vehicles between uses and performing both preventive and reactive repairs over the planned two-year lifespan.
Bird intends to hire a manager by March 1, although Shoemaker has not disclosed any compensation for the position. She said fleet managers usually work with friends and family to do a 24/7 job.
The manager has a tracking system that informs him of the locations and battery life of all vehicles in operation.
If a scooter is moved without being unlocked, a silent alarm is triggered and the manager is notified.
The manager would also receive an alert if the driver attempts to drive outside of a preset operating zone, which is akin to an invisible fence. The scooter would then also switch off and prompt the driver to turn around.
- Bird will be a local fleet manager until March 1st
- The city will consider changes to the scooter ordinance by March 2 or later
- City will launch Scooters by either March 15th or April 1st
The scooters would be primarily located in downtown Enid, where Bird could set specific operating zone boundaries in advance for events like parades or markets, Shoemaker said.
Main Street Enid chief executive Natalie Beurlot said the downtown organization previously asked a bird or other type of scooter to be here before city manager Jerald Gilbert informed them of the deal.
“I think seeing Bird in our community makes traveling around our city more enjoyable and fun,” she said.
In downtown Enid there is what Beurlot calls a “double square”. If the scooters took visitors from one place to another, like Enid’s two breweries, Enid Brewing Co. and Settlers Brewing Co., it would cut the time it takes to be located on opposite corners of downtown.
Gilbert was thrilled on Thursday after Shoemaker reached out to him and presented him with the plan.
“What’s the old saying … ‘One bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.” he said, quoting John Ray’s proverb. “You made it so easy for us, I thought, ‘Gosh, yeah! We just say yes! ‘”
Prosecutor Carol Lahman said the city likely needs to change some ordinances to make business easier, such as allowing scooters to be ridden on roads or on the Enid Trails system.
City management will submit these changes to the Enid City Commission for approval before the deal is scheduled to begin in mid-March.
According to state law, scooters can be driven on roads as long as the road speed is 40 km / h or less, Lahman said.
Downtown arteries such as Maine and Broadway have speed limits of up to 30 miles per hour. Garriott drives around town at 35-45 mph, as do other major thoroughfares.
Bird already has fleets in service in other Oklahoma cities, including Bartlesville and Weatherford, and Durant and Alva, Shoemaker said.
Traditional markets for Enid’s 50,000 residents include Pensacola, Florida, Harrisburg, Virginia, and Bloomington, Indiana, she said.
These midsize markets mainly use rented scooters due to the lack of other transportation options, she added.
The company was founded in 2017 in Santa Monica, California to tackle parking lot congestion and has since grown to 150 cities worldwide.
Lime, Bird’s main competitor in the shared scooter transportation industry, also has scooters in communities across Oklahoma. According to Shoemaker, Lime is expanding in the Oklahoma City area because it relies on a service center there.