Controversial scooter-sharing service expands to Ohio.
Los Angeles-based startup Bird selected Columbus as its most recent landing place, as multiple electric scooters were spotted on High Street Downtown on Thursday, July 11.
A Bird spokesperson confirmed to Alive that there are also scooters located in the Short North, the Arena District and Bexley.
"Columbus is a city that recognizes the importance of an accessible and reliable transit system," the company said. "We are excited to bring our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option to the people and communities of Columbus. Birds are perfect for those 'last mile' trips that are too long to walk, but too short to drive."
Through the scooter-sharing service, which is currently operating in several cities across the country, riders use an app to locate and pay for the vehicles, which go up to 15 miles per hour. There are no designated docks; commuters park the scooters wherever they choose. On-demand workers, called "chargers," are responsible for collecting and returning the scooters to "nests" to re-charge.
Though environmentally friendly, the Bird scooters have been met with resistance in other cities.
Last month, Nashville demanded Bird remove its scooters from the city, citing illegal obstructions of rights-of-way and other public property in the city. The city also introduced regulatory legislation, which would enforce fees and facilitate consumer education on parking and safety.
The Bird spokesperson emphasized a "commitment to collaboratively work with city officials and community stakeholders," and pointed to the company's "Save Our Sidewalks Pledge" to prevent "out-of-control" vehicle deployment.
In a statement to Alive, Jeffrey Ortega, assistant director of the Department of Public Service, said the city is looking forward to working with Bird.
"We anticipate conversations to occur in the near future with the intent of giving the residents and visitors of the City of Columbus access to the best services possible while prudently managing the public right of way," he said.
"Also, the city is interested in seeing how this service and others can provide additional smart mobility opportunities in the City of Columbus."
This article has been updated to include comment from city officials.