Bird scooters land at Queens

scooters nested in front of the parking deckThrough a collaboration between Patrick Motter and Bird scooters, Queens now offers a new transportation option.

Bird scooters are coming to Queens. When Bird reached out to the school, they landed in Patrick Motter’s office. He said one of the main reasons Queens agreed to participate in the program was that it would provide another means of travel, especially for first-year students.

“We started seeing scooters showing up on campus some time ago, so working with Bird allows us to control where they are supposed to be and how people use them,” said Motter.

Bird started in 2017 in Venice, Calif. The company now operates in more than 100 cities in America, Europe and Asia, according to the company’s website. In 2018 Bird was named one of “Time Magazine’s” 50 genius companies. Bird gained in popularity in Charlotte over the past few months, being used uptown as a way to avoid traffic and explore the city. Charlotteans and city officials raised safety concerns about speed, road access, and irresponsible rider behavior. A regulation passed by the Charlotte council in mid-January dropped the speed limit on scooters from 20 miles per hour to 15.

The Queens administration created unique precautions to provide additional safety.

Motter said the scooters are collected at 9 p.m, charged, and then delivered back to campus in the morning. Besides a reduction in environmental impact and car trips, the Bird program provides an opportunity for off-campus students to earn income by charging the scooters.

The company also reminds students about proper scooter protocol and safety in the app. Motter said Queens is concerned about scooter usage in the parking deck and respect for pedestrians. Students are also not allowed to bring scooters inside buildings.

Bird provided a safety campaign on the day Queens launched the scooters. Queens’ Bird program is supported by Chris Stockwell, a Bird partnership manager who works with universities. The company also gave 56 helmets to students and ships free helmets to students who request them.

To use Bird students must download a Bird smartphone app, own a valid identification card and a debit/credit card. The scooters are $1 to unlock the scooter, and 15 cents per minute riding.

“When we do work with schools, our idea is to provide an additional transportation option ‘first-mile-last-mile solution’ to the students,” said Stockwell. “With Queens being smaller, it is a great way to get off campus without having to own a car.”

According to Stockwell, the company is starting with about 30 scooters at Queens, grouped into seven nests around campus. Motter said the annual contract does allow for Bird to remove the scooters on short notice, should they feel there is a lack of need or an abundance of inappropriate usage.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.