Dockless Electric Scooters Come to Cambridge, Then Swiftly Disappear

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You may have heard about the recent controversy involving Bird Dockless Scooters. The company began operating its dockless scooters without city approval in Cambridge and Somerville in July, and was met with cease-and-desist letters shortly after. Bird is a California-based scooter-share program, similar to Blue Bikes, or the recently popular Lime Bike. Like Lime Bikes, Bird scooters can be unlocked by a mobile app, and rented at a cost of $1 +15 cents a minute.

Picture of Bird's dockless scooterPhoto of a Bird dockless scooter. image source: Bird

After back-and-forth with the City of Cambridge, and the threat of their scooters being impounded, the company has decided to remove them from local streets as a “show of good faith”. Moving forward it appears that Bird will be working with the city to create a regulated program.

Bird issued the following statement:

"Bird is committed to working in partnership with Cambridge to build a framework that permits equitable transportation options that would help the city reach its goals of getting cars off the road and reducing traffic congestion. While this work is underway, we have agreed to voluntarily remove all of our scooters from the city as a show of good faith. We hope to be held to the same standards as other dock-free transportation providers in the area, and look forward to continuing to have productive conversations with local officials so we can get back to helping people more easily get around Cambridge."
source: Boston Business Journal

Dockless bikes and scooters are becoming quite popular as of late, with companies like Lime Bikes and Cambridge’s own ANT Bicycle popping up all around the greater Boston area. Without the need for docks, bikes can be left anywhere, making them easier to get to, and allowing for significantly less infrastructure investment. Many are worried however that this will lead to sidewalks being cluttered with bikes (and scooters) creating a major nuisance for pedestrians. To this point, Bird has committed to a “Save Our Streets” or S.O.S. pledge promising to operate scooter and bike sharing programs in a responsible way by clearing equipments from sidewalks daily, keeping growth to an appropriate scale, and asking their competitors to do the same. Only time will tell if dockless bikes and scooters will be the future of urban transportation.


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