Richmond pulls plug on new electric scooters

Updated: Aug. 17, 2018 at 8:27 PM EDT
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Bird Scooter in Richmond (Source:NBC12)
Bird Scooter in Richmond (Source:NBC12)
Bird Scooter in Richmond (Source: NBC12)
Bird Scooter in Richmond (Source: NBC12)
Bird Scooter App showing you the scooters locations (Source:NBC12)
Bird Scooter App showing you the scooters locations (Source:NBC12)

(WWBT) - The City of Richmond has shutdown the California-based company called Bird Rides Inc. The company operates dockless electric scooters throughout cities nationwide, at a cost of one dollar to rent plus 20 cents a minute.

Thursday, the scooter-share system arrived in Richmond but did not inform the city before dropping the scooters on the street.

Tom Byrnes, a spokesman for the city's office, confirmed that the city is impounding all the scooters, saying the Bird Company did not have any permits allowing them to drop off their scooter's in the city.

While that may seem to be the case, a spokesperson for the scooter fleet company says they did nothing wrong.

"Bird believes we are operating legally in Richmond, and we are encouraged to see the community already embracing our transportation option. We are committed to working closely with local officials so that our affordable, environmentally friendly vehicles can be available, and we look forward to having productive conversations with local leadership," said a Bird spokesperson.

Mayor Stoney took to Twitter saying, "Hey @BirdRide! I like these scooters. How about we get our teams around the table and make this work the right way?"

In an email, Bird said meetings with the city have been scheduled for next week.

Here's a little additional background information on how the scooters work:

  • Users locate and unlock a scooter for $1 through the bird mobile app
  • The scooters are dockless - meaning they can be left anywhere to pick up and leave behind after you're done
  • All rides are cut off at dusk (no new rides can be originated), rides in progress can continue until the rider ends the session. Chargers begin collecting Birds at dusk.
  • Each night, every Bird on the road is picked up by a “Charger” - a third party person who have agreed to host Bird scooters on their property such as coffee shops, hotels, etc.  There are typically three scooters at each nest, although some business owners have agreed to host additional scooters on their (private) property.

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