Area residents will no longer be able to rent a Bird electronic scooter to cruise through town for the foreseeable future.
Bird Rides Inc., an electric scooter rental company based in Los Angeles, has informed the City of Columbus that it opted to terminate service in Columbus due to its commitment to “sustain and expand our services in a way that meets the need of our city partners, logistics partners, riders and shareholders.”
“Unfortunately, we do not see an immediate path to supporting our near-term requirements for building an enduring business in Columbus,” Bird Rides representative Kylee Floodman said, in a letter to the City. “As a result, we will not be returning operations this spring. This was not an easy decision for us given your support of our efforts to bring eco-friendly transportation to your residents.”
In the summer of 2021, the Columbus City Council approved a memorandum of understanding allowing Bird Rides Inc. to operate in town. Bird operated as an independent contractor, placing scooters throughout the community for people ages 18 and older to rent. Bird scooters are all dockless electric scooters that you can find and rent with your smartphone app and drop off at almost any safe site near your destination. They have scooters in cities around the world, according to the company's website.
City Administrator Tara Vasicek said Bird’s decision was disappointing as she felt the community had enjoyed having the scooters as an option to get around.
“It’s unfortunate. I think overall, the Bird scooters were popular. They were a new and different way of transportation,” Vasicek said. “There are other, similar businesses across the nation. Maybe we will be able to get one of those interested in Columbus.”
In the letter, Bird expressed its appreciation to the City and community as a whole while also not ruling out a comeback down the line.
“We are grateful for your partnership and hope to have the opportunity to return in the future as the macroeconomic environment recovers,” Floodman said.
(ABOUT THE PHOTO: The bike racks at Frankfort Square were popular places for people to pick up and leave Bird electronic scooters.)