If you’ve missed electric scooters in Portland, you’ll be happy to hear they’ll start popping up again soon. Sort of.
While we don’t have any dates for another deployment, scooters will be back in the news as the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation releases its full report on the four-month pilot program next week.
That’s good timing for officials in Salem who are getting lobbied hard by Bird, a major scooter company and one of the three who participated in the Portland pilot. Salem planners will have plenty of data and analysis to pore over as they consider scooter prospects in the capital.
A story published today in the Statesman Journal reports that Bird executives have already bent the ear of Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and city staff are likely to meet with the company soon to get their full pitch. That same story mentions the Portland pilot and confirms that PBOT plans to release a full report on it next week. Given the existing survey data and PBOT’s general tone about scooters, my hunch is the report will provide even more momentum for a second deployment.
And if scooters do get the green light in Salem, imagine the impact that could have on the minds of state legislators. A successful and high-profile deployment around the capital might help lawmakers see beyond the automobile when it comes to transportation policy.
Bird, the fastest company to ever reach a $1 billion valuation, set up shop on the steps of Portland City Hall today in a bid to get their product back out on the streets. Joining them were leaders from active transportation advocacy group The Street Trust and Forth Mobility, a nonprofit that promotes electric vehicles.
A leading electric scooter company will host a rally at City Hall on Wednesday at 12 noon. Bird says the event will feature speakers from nonprofits Forth Mobility (formerly Drive Oregon, an EV advocacy group) and The Street Trust. The event is billed as a way to, “Unify in demand for immediate end to ban on sustainable transportation alternatives.”
Bird was one of three companies that participated in the City of Portland’s e-scooter pilot program. Despite what appeared to be a successful experiment, Portland decided to take all scooters off the streets about one month ago.
Now Bird and The Street Trust want to get scooters back in the news. Here’s the text of an invite Bird is sending around:
Join us on Wednesday, December 12 at noon at City Hall for a press conference in support of bringing scooters back to Portland! We’ll have speakers from Bird, The Street Trust, and more.
Portland’s e-scooter pilot program was a huge success in giving Portlanders new convenient, sustainable alternatives to car travel and the city’s leaders have shown tremendous foresight as they plan to incorporate these new modes of transportation into the city’s streets.
Let’s show them how much we appreciate their work making Portland a leader in sustainability and that we hope we can get scooters back on the road as soon as possible so we can continue to have more convenient, environmentally-friendly, and affordable transportation options!
Word has it that representatives from Lime will also speak at the event.
Bird just announced they have launched a new data dashboard to, “help cities incorporate and manage e-scooters into their transportation mix.”
A company spokesman tells us, “For starters, the platform will include: A data dashboard of Bird usage; Geo-fencing capabilities to tell Bird riders not to ride or park somewhere; Community mode so anyone can report unsafe riding or parking; Rider education — ability to customize messages to a city’s rider base (such as “no riding on Main Street today because of the big parade.”).”
Bird is one of three scooter companies participating in the City of Portland’s Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program which will run through the end of September.
Here’s the full announcement of the new features:
Curbed reported today that e-scooter startup Bird has pledged to donate $1 per day from each scooter they have in operation to fund the bikeways where their vehicles operate.
Sounds like an interesting idea. With Bird allowed to have nearly 700 scooters on the ground in Portland by the end of this week that would equal about $21,000 a month or $252,000 a year if the company sticks around after the initial pilot period. That’s a significant amount of funding given that the City of Portland can add buffers to 5.6 miles of bike lanes for $80,000 and their new protected bike lane design guide says the estimated cost of a basic, parking-protected bike lane is about $65,000 per mile.
And don’t forget, that voluntary contribution from Bird would be on top of the 25 cents per trip fee charged by the City of Portland. If the Bird scooters got 4 trips per day that would be another $8,400 per month — or about $101,000 a year — into city coffers from Bird alone.