Council takes stock of the success of scooters in the first year – Albert Lea Tribune

Fourteen hundred unique users used the rental scooters brought to Albert Lea through an electric vehicle sharing company in their first season, a company representative on Albert Lea’s city council said on Monday.

In an update on the first eight months of the scooter program, Mike Butler, a representative for Bird, said there are 100 scooters in Albert Lea, although not all of them were on the road at the same time.

The scooters traveled a total of 15,051 miles and the average trip was 24 minutes, he said.

To use one of the scooters, people walk to one parked in a designated area and use a smartphone app to unlock and then pay for a ride. Riders, who must be over 18, sign a user agreement and complete educational tutorials and then are allowed to ride in a designated area of ​​operation approved by the city and Bird. At the end of the ride, the rider should park the scooter vertically out of the crosswalk and take a photo showing how the scooter is parked.

Butler said the company charges a fairly standard fee compared to other similar companies for its runners.

Passengers are informed of the prices before each trip, which is $ 1 to begin with and a charge per minute thereafter.

Third Ward Councilor Jason Howland asked if other cities typically see a decline in services in their second year after people get over initial enthusiasm for the new equipment.

Butler said that while there is an initial excitement factor in the first few weeks of rolling out the scooters, he expects the second year to be stable with what the city has seen for use. in 2021. He said what the company has seen in other communities is that people start using scooters as a viable transportation option.

Albert Lea mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. initially said he was worried about having scooters all over town, but once the program got started he thinks it has been good for the town . He noted that he had spoken to many people who came to the small community community outside of Albert Lea just to ride the scooters.

City Manager Ian Rigg said the first two weeks after the scooters were brought into town the town received a lot of calls about them, but once staff briefed the public on how to contact directly Bird with questions, the influx of calls ended in late summer.

He didn’t expect them to be a problem for the staff once they restart in the spring.

“It has been used extensively, and luckily not abused,” Rigg said.

Butler said Albert Lea’s scooters saved 2.12 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

He said he was impressed with how the program has unfolded in the city and is excited to bring the scooters back in 2022.

In addition to scooters, Bird also started offering e-bikes in 2021.

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