Birds of a feather scoot together.
Joining more than 20 cities across the U.S., Kansas City became the most recent community to welcome a flock of Bird electric scooters.
The Los Angeles-based firm dropped off dozens of black, lithium-ion-powered scooters throughout Kansas City, allowing users to rent the vehicles and zip across town with a $1 start fee and 15 cents per minute after that. More than 60 of the scooters were dropped off by the company — which is valued at more that $1 billion — in such areas as the River Market, Central Business District, Crossroads Arts District, 18th and Vine and the Country Club Plaza.
The scooters are pleasant to drive and easy to access, though Thou Mayest founder Bo Nelson can see them eventually becoming an issue, he said. Nelson enjoyed his first ride on a Bird Wednesday.
“It’s the best and probably most dynamic way to explore the city,” said Nelson, whose popular Crossroads coffee shop is in the heart of the Bird service area in Kansas City. “It’s affordable, allows for maximum independence and you just leave it when you’re done. I can see problems coming, but let’s enjoy it while we can.”
To access Bird’s scooters, users must download the company’s app, scan a scooter’s unique QR code and give the vehicle a few pushes to get it moving. Once scooting along, users can reach maximum speeds of 15 mph to travel short distances. The company encourages users to bring their own helmets for safety.
Bird uses GPS to track the scooters and will pay fans $5 to $20 to pick up and charge the vehicles at their homes.
Hoping to expand to 50 metros across the U.S., Bird has already irked some communities, spurring complaints that scooter users leave the vehicles in disruptive locations and cause collisions or injuries. Denver and San Francisco have already banned the scooters. Bird wants to work with local governments to craft reasonable regulations, the company said.
Bird and the City of Kansas City, Mo. are currently in conversations on how to best regulate the company.
The ruffled feathers, however, haven’t hurt Bird’s early successes. The company recently raised $150 million in a round led by Sequoia Capital, which reportedly valued the firm at $1 billion.
Check out Thou Mayest founder Bo Nelson’s thoughts after his first ride on one the company’s scooters.