Bird, the Santa Monica based electric scooter company, will expand service to San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, DC.
The announcement included a “Save Our Streets” challenge issued to other similar companies that Bird said will help guide expansion of electric vehicle services without some of the problems associated with unrestricted growth.
Bird began in Santa Monica offering a dockless sharing system. The company’s electric scooters can be picked up anywhere for a fee of $1 plus 15 cents per minute. When a ride is complete, the user can leave the scooter anywhere.
The dockless nature of the system brought the company into conflict with city regulators who took the company to court. Critics say the scooters block the public right of way and users do not obey relevant laws. The company settled the court case and has increased educational outreach efforts for users. The complaints have done little to impact the popularity of the scooters with thousands of users signing up since the service launched last year and Bird claims to have completed more than a million rides with about half of those coming in the last 30 days. The company has also raised more than $15 million in investment this year.
The expansion is the third wave for Bird. After launching in Santa Monica, the service expanded to the adjacent Venice and UCLA areas. It later grew to San Diego.
“Californians hate sitting in traffic and care passionately about the environment,” said founder Travis VanderZanden in a statement. “Operating these past months in Southern California, we have helped thousands of people avoid the traffic and carbon emissions that come from driving a car. We are thrilled to expand north and help the people of northern California take those last-mile trips without a car, and we are thrilled to take Birds to our nation’s capital.”
VanderZanden’s SOS pledge includes three pillars: Daily Pickup, Responsible Growth and Revenue Sharing.
The company currently puts its scooters into a recharge mode in the evening and the pledge promises to retrieve all vehicles every night, conduct maintenance and reposition the entire fleet to where they are most in demand.
The growth pledge promises not to increase vehicles in a city unless they are used at least three times per day per vehicle. Data will be shared with regulators to verify use.
The company’s final pledge is to offer $1 per vehicle per day to local governments for use in maintaining shared infrastructure or in educational campaigns.
“Although we are competitors, we all share a passion for the transformation that we are all working to bring about. But as an industry of innovators, we need to lead not just on technology, but on social responsibility. We hope that all of you join us in this S.O.S. Pledge to help our cities thrive,” said VanderZanden in a letter to the CEOs of LimeBike, Ofo, Mobike, and Jump.
Visit www.bird.co for more information.