Scooter-share service Bird launches in Milwaukee

Company targets Third Ward on first day of Summerfest

Bird scooters were first distributed in the Third Ward in June 2018.
Bird scooters were first distributed in the Third Ward in June 2018.

Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 05:03 am

Dockless electric scooter-share company Bird has launched in Milwaukee, beginning today.

Bird scooters were distributed in the Third Ward today.

The Santa Monica, California-based company has distributed its scooters on curbs around the Historic Third Ward, and said it plans to add more scooters in Milwaukee over time. Bird is targeting “last mile” riders who are facing a long walk that is too short to drive.

Music festival Summerfest begins today in the Third Ward.

Those interested in using a Bird scooter must download the Bird smartphone app to locate and rent a scooter. Riders must be 18 or older with a valid driver’s license, and must agree to a safety code. The app provides a lesson on using the scooters. Users can also request a free helmet from Bird. The scooters cost $1 to rent, and then 15 cents per minute.

The scooters, which are designed to be ridden in the bike lane on the road, travel at a maximum of 15 miles per hour, and can go about 15 miles before they need to be charged. Users can then leave the scooters at the curb or at a bike rack when they are finished.

In cities where Bird is available, the company pays people to gather the scooters and bring them in for charging each night. The scooters are available from 7 a.m. to sunset.

Users download the Bird app to rent a scooter.

The company parks its scooters at “nests” each morning on the curbs of private properties with the permission of property owners, it says.

Milwaukee is the 20th city in which Bird has launched, and the company has submitted the necessary paperwork to operate in Milwaukee, a spokesman said.

“We work closely with the all of the cities in which we operate and look forward to doing so in Milwaukee so that Bird is a reliable and affordable transportation option,” the spokesman said.

Bird is one of several bike- and scooter-share companies that have been formed recently to provide an alternative transportation option in cities across the U.S. San Francisco-based for-profit bike- and scooter-share company LimeBike has been attempting to work with the City of Milwaukee and gain public support to launch its dockless service here. Milwaukee-based nonprofit bikesharing company, Bublr Bikes, which provides bike rentals via docking stations around the city and suburbs, recently raised $100,000 to continue expanding and prepare for competition from LimeBike.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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