Bird e-scooters are getting their wings clipped. The Santa Monica-based company has not been selected to participate in the City’s second shared mobility pilot program and will have to remove all devices from the street by July 1.
City Chief Mobility Officer Francie Stefan made the call to approve Veo, Spin, and Lyft for the second pilot program. Her decision was based on the suggestions of a selection committee, which ranked each company’s devices on a point based system and was allowed to recommend up to four providers.
While Birds’ devices received the 4th highest score out of the eight companies that applied, they were not selected as a permitted service provider. Instead, the committed opted to choose just three companies.
If the decision is not appealed, these companies will be the only e-bike and e-scooter providers allowed in Santa Monica from July 1 to March 30, 2023.
Bird almost didn’t make the cut for the first shared mobility pilot in 2018, due to its ranking compared to other companies. It was ultimately allowed to participate because of its local Santa Monica connection.
Bird has yet to respond to a request for comment, leaving it unclear whether they plan to file an appeal. The deadline to do so is May 26, and will be passed to Transportation Director Ed King for final consideration.
As Jump and Lime pulled their devices from the City at the beginning of the pandemic, Bird is the only current service provider that will have to leave as a result of this decision.
Under the selection committee’s ranking, Bird scored lower than approved companies on criteria including affordability, customer service, safety, and sustainability.
The top scoring company was Spin, followed by Veo and then Lyft. Starting July 1, the companies are collectively allowed to place 2,000 devices across the city.
Veo is approved for 200 two-wheel scooters and 500 e-bikes; Spin is approved for 500 two-wheel and 200 three-wheel e-scooters; and Lyft is approved for 600 e-bikes.
Notably, Lyft’s e-scooters are not included in these new device allowances, although they were part of the first pilot program.
The approved device numbers are based on current device demand. If utilization rises these numbers are allowed to increase up to 3,250 total devices.