TOKYO – The sidewalks in the suburbs of Tokyo are getting a little brisk.
US startup Bird Rides will soon be fully involved in Japan with an electric scooter sharing program as the country eases restrictions on mobility devices.
Bird Rides is working with Tokyo-based BRJ with the goal of initially bringing 400 electric scooters to market. Tests with the services will be carried out in the Tokyo metropolitan area and other major cities as early as autumn.
The Santa Monica, California-based company plans to eventually earn 5 billion yen ($ 45.3 million) a year through fiscal 2024, assuming planned deregulation occurs.
Japan’s National Police Department said in April that it would allow people to operate electric scooters that require human strength without a license, as long as the speed limit does not exceed 15 km / h.
Bird Rides’ scooters are equipped with SIM cards and GPS devices that allow the company to remotely deactivate the vehicles when they move away from authorized areas.
Test runs are conducted in suburbs with a population between 200,000 and 300,000 people, with helmets being optional. The service fee is set at 10 yen per minute.
Bird Rides has integrated the safety features of its e-scooters into a company that spans over 200 cities around the world. The company offers around 70,000 vehicles. In May, Bird Rides announced that it would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as part of a SPAC deal.