The first scooters allowed under a Jefferson City new ordinance were on the streets Thursday morning.
Scooter-share company Bird officially signed a license agreement with the city after the Jefferson City Council approved an open-market style regulation bill Monday.
Fifty black and white electric scooters could be found along East High Street in downtown Jefferson City starting Thursday morning, parked at the edge of the sidewalk.
“Bird is excited to bring our shared electric scooters to Jefferson City,” said Blanca Laborde, director of government partnerships at Bird. “We are working closely with the city to ensure the launch goes smoothly. We look forward to offering a safe and sustainable way for residents to get around.”
Bird is the first company to expand into Jefferson City since approval of the new ordinance and was in talks with city staff prior to it. The company’s potential interest is what triggered the city to look at its regulations.
The ordinance passed Monday in a 7-2 vote.
City Attorney Ryan Moehlman said staff let Bird know of the ordinance’s approval and the company signed a license agreement.
“We are excited to work with Jefferson City to offer residents safe and sustainable transportation during the pandemic and beyond,” Bird spokeswoman Jasmine Wallsmith said in an email. “A growing list of cities, states and countries are looking to micromobility alternatives, such as scooters and bikes, not only as a means of minimizing congestion but also as a way to support local economic recovery.”
Moehlman said city staff plans to meet with Bird representatives next week.
Bird scooters are operated through an app, which allows users to register, reserve rides, locate scooters and pay.
According to the app, it costs $1 to start a scooter and 39 cents per minute of riding with a minimum cost of $3.50 plus tax per ride.
Bird is expected to pay the city 50 cents per ride.
Riders are expected to provide their own helmets and follow the rules of the road.
The app provides information about how to ride and park the scooter per city ordinance.
Moehlman said last week Bird filled out a license agreement with Jefferson City to operate up to 100 scooters with a minimum of 75 without city approval.
The city is not in an exclusive contract with Bird, which means other scooter- or bike-share companies can operate within Jefferson City if they agree and sign to the same license agreement.
The agreement is modeled after one in Columbia, where Bird also operates.