The time has come.
For those looking for a fun option for that last part of your journey, electric, dockless scooter-sharing company Bird has now launched a pilot program in downtown Detroit.
Here’s how it works. The scooters can be accessed via a smartphone app. They are dockless, so don’t look for stations like MoGo. Leave them at your destination for the next rider. It’s meant as a last-minute, last-leg-of-a-trip solution; rides start at $1, and $0.15 per minute after that. They only go about 15 miles per hour, and last about 15 miles per charge.
Rides can start at 7 a.m. They’re picked up shortly after sunset and taken back to be recharged, stored, and repaired if necessary. In the morning, they’re left at “nests” for the first riders.
FYI, do not use these on the sidewalks! They are meant to be used in bike lanes or on the street.
A look at the app this morning showed scooters available downtown—many by Comerica Park—as far up as Mack Avenue with some in Eastern Market.
Riders need to be 18 years old and need to consent to a safety agreement. The app has safety instructions and tutorials. If someone needs a helmet, Bird can provide them.
Bird also has a “One Bird” program, “that helps improve mobility and increase access to employment opportunities for underserved communities.” If someone is on state or federal assistance, the base fee is waved.
In an attempt to “Save Our Sidewalks,” the company pledges to pick up the scooters at the end of the day, limit growth, and share revenue with cities.
Bird and other scooter-sharing companies have had plenty of detractors. In San Francisco, piles of scooters have been found along the street—with some in the water (please down throw them in the Detroit River). Many criticize that they look like they’re littering the street. Miami has also started regulating dockless scooters, as people often left them obstructing public right-of-ways.
Can we share the bike lanes? Can the scooters sustain the potholes? Will it expand to areas outside of downtown? Could we see another filling-in-the-gap program like DDOT has done with Lyft and MoGo? Let’s see how this goes, Detroit.