Electric scooters are on their way to Meridian.
E-scooter company Bird plans to deploy around 100 scooters in Meridian on Thursday. Staff plan to roll-out scooters first thing in the morning, according to Mackenzie Long, government communications for Bird.
Leading up to Thursday, Bird staff have been working with the city to educate residents about rider safety. Riders can view tutorials and report badly parked or damaged scooters on Bird's app.
“We want to make sure we’re integrating seamlessly into the existing transportation system,” said Paul Steely White, director of safety policy for Bird. “We recognize it's a new form of transportation.”
Bird’s contract with Meridian allows them to initially deploy up to 150 scooters. They can apply to increase that by 100 scooters every two weeks with a maximum of 500 scooters, the Meridian Press previously reported. Before expanding their fleet, Bird wants to gauge ridership numbers and rider safety in Meridian, Steely White said.
“We don’t like to ramp up just to ramp up," Steely White said.
Lime e-scooters were the first to hit the streets of Meridian, deploying last fall. After six days, Lime pulled them from the streets at the city’s request to work out some kinks.
Bird had originally planned to deploy earlier this summer, but was halted when Lime appealed Meridian City Council’s decision to choose Bird as the city’s sole provider of e-scooters. That appeal contributed to Bird’s delay, the Meridian Press previously reported.
Lime and Bird operate in Boise, along with a third company, Spin, which deployed in April. Boise code allows up to three companies to deploy 250 scooters each. On July 15, Boise City Council approved a new ordinance set to reduce e-scooter speeds in designated areas, address accessibility compliance issues, make the devices easier to identify and report reckless riders to law enforcement.
Bird’s contract with Meridian lasts until the end of the year, at which point Bird will need to reapply, along with any other interested e-scooter companies. Steely White said he didn’t know whether Bird would reapply or not.
“For now we’re just focused on providing the best possible service and making sure we are minding the details,” Steely White said. “The team will look at what happens in the future after we’ve managed to establish good-quality service.”