By Michael Praats | January 6, 2021 at 6:06 AM EST – Updated January 6 at 12:53 PM
CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – You might have seen them if you have visited cities like Charlotte or Raleigh – electric scooters available to the general public to rent using nothing more than a smart phone and credit card; now, one company is hoping to bring their scooters to the Town of Carolina Beach.
Bird is a scooter-sharing company that hopes to pitch its product to Carolina Beach’s Town Council on Jan. 12, the company currently rents scooters in Charlotte as well as dozens of other cities across the country.
“Bird is a last-mile electric vehicle sharing company dedicated to bringing affordable, environmentally-friendly transportation solutions to communities everywhere. Today Bird serves over 100 cities worldwide,” according to a presentation from the scooter-rental company.
The last-mile problem is one that generally implies that public transportation options do not get riders exactly where they need to go, scooters and bikes can help bridge that gap for riders.
The operation is simple, riders download the app and then submit payment information before starting the ride, they then scan a QR code on the scooter with starts the trip, once they complete their trip they are charged. The scooter’s cost $1 to start and then an additional per-minute fee.
Bird, along with planning staff, is asking town leaders to consider the use of scooter sharing in the town, and provide feedback and direction if they decide to allow them to operate.
There are plenty of concerns other cities have had with scooter-sharing systems including safety as well as aesthetics of scooters taking up sidewalk space, but there are also several positives, according to Bird, including boosting the local economy.
“58% of Bird rides ending at local businesses helping connect shops and restaurants with riders in their community,” according to the presentation.
Scooters and other vehicles also allow for more environmental friendly transportation when compared to cars and Carolina Beach already allows slow moving vehicles, including golf carts, to operate in the town limits.
If the town decides to allow them, residents would not have to worry about a free-for-all of scooters riding through neighborhoods, the company has a way to keep scooters and riders in specific locations.
“Bird’s geo-fencing technology allows us to implement no-ride zones, no-parking zones, and reduced-speed zones with custom messaging to increase safe riding,” according to documents submitted to the town.
A draft of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been drafted for the Town of Carolina Beach and, as it currently reads, Bird would provide anywhere from 50-100 scooters for the beach town at launch. Scooters would be available from 4 a.m. until midnight each day and scooters would have the same rules that bicycles have to follow.
Scooter riders would have to be 18 years or older and anyone who violates the rules could be fined by the town.
Town Council will receive the presentation on Jan. 12 and will be presented with several options: agree and enter into the MOU, agree to a limited trial run with Bird, or not allow the company to operate at all.
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