Electric scooters are coming to downtown Bradenton.

  • 04/22/22

Electric scooters will become the newest way to travel around downtown Bradenton later this year. After more than two years of careful review, city leaders chose Bird as the exclusive provider of e-scooter rentals in the area. The company already operates similar motorized scooter programs in more than 300 cities across the globe, including Tampa, Atlanta and Detroit.

Electric scooters will become the newest way to travel around downtown Bradenton later this year. After more than two years of careful review, city leaders chose Bird as the exclusive provider of e-scooter rentals in the area. The company already operates similar motorized scooter programs in more than 300 cities across the globe, including Tampa, Atlanta and Detroit.

City officials voted unanimously last week to begin negotiating a two-year contract with Bird. The scooters aren’t available to rent yet, but the company has said it can ship 150 scooters to the area within two days of a final agreement. Over time, Bird says Bradenton will become home to a fleet of up to 500 scooters. “Bird looks forward to working with the City of Bradenton to launch our environmentally friendly e-scooter program in the coming months. Bradenton would join a dozen other cities in Florida where Bird is operating,” a Bird spokesperson wrote in an email to the Bradenton Herald. “As tourism picks up, expanding to Bradenton — with its vibrant downtown — was a natural fit.” Bradenton officials have not determined where scooters will be available to rent, but Bird proposed setting up rental sites near the downtown parking garages, along the Bradenton Riverwalk, at LECOM Park and several other locations. Riders will be able to visit one of these rental stations, grab a scooter and ride it for as long as they want before parking the scooter at a rental station again. The scooter rollout is expected to be paired with a public campaign to highlight rider safety and information on how to rent the scooters. Once they’re available in downtown, those interested will be able to use the Bird app on their iOS or Android devices to create an account and begin riding.

Limiting bad behavior- Bird also boasts the ability to modify a scooter’s behavior based on the rider’s location. For example, the company can prevent scooters from operating outside of the downtown and limit the vehicle’s top speed in certain areas, such as Old Main Street or the Riverwalk. While e-scooter rental services have become popular across the country, there are several examples of cities that do not require scooters to be parked in designated areas. As part of Bradenton’s review, the city decided that scooter vendors will need to follow strict parking requirements. In Bradenton, Bird will stick to those rules by discouraging riders from leaving scooters lying on the sidewalk, grass or other areas. The company uses a pay-as-you-go system that will continue to charge the rider until the app verifies the scooter is parked in a designated area. The Bradenton Police Department has helped create the city’s guidelines for scooter rentals. Lt. Phil Waller said an in-person demo of Bird’s scooters assured him that the company can force users to leave the scooters in the right place.

“Even just a few feet outside of that box, the app tells you that the scooter isn’t properly parked. With that technology, we’re hoping to have the complaints about scooters all over the sidewalks taken care of,” Waller explained. “That’s probably been the top complaint about these across the U.S.” The company also plans to open an office in Bradenton, allowing a permanent field team to quickly resolve issues such as scooter repairs and battery charging. The City Council is expected to vote on a final contract later this year, which would allow Bird to begin operating scooter rentals. A timeline for that contract has not been finalized. For more information about Bird, visit www.Bird.co.

 

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