Plans for the largest electric scooter company in the country to land in San Luis Obispo will remain grounded for now.
Bird, an alternative transportation company founded in 2017, had planned to roll out a fleet of dockless scooters in San Luis Obispo mid-September. At the request of the city, however, they delayed the roll-out indefinitely.
San Luis Obispo city officials met with Bird representatives to discuss the company’s plans for launching, permits and licensing.
“Just like any other business, [Bird] would need the appropriate license and permits to operate in the city,” San Luis Obispo Interim Deputy City Manager Greg Hermann said. “A part of that would include ensuring rider and community safety along with compliance with other relevant laws.”
“City staff is in the process of preparing information for the City Council to be able to discuss next steps, which could include engaging with the community to determine if this is a good fit for San Luis Obispo,” Hermann said.
From Richmond, California to St. Louis, Missouri, the company has run into problems with the rogue approach of dropping its fleets of scooters — called flocks — around cities.
The scooters top out at 15 mph and cost just $1 to unlock. Once unlocked, riders are charged about 15 cents per minute until their ride is concluded.
Bird said in a statement on their website that the company has the opportunity to reduce car trips, “especially the roughly 40 percent of trips [made] under two miles.”
The Santa Monica-based company runs an app which allows users to share the scooters. However, cities and pedestrians alike have complained about this structure of Bird, as people can leave scooters anywhere once they are done using them.
Cities like Nashville, have even impounded the scooters because the company did not seek out the proper permits to operate within the city before deploying its product.
Bird did not respond to requests for comment.