Bird’s e-scooter deployment in Meridian is being delayed for what officials believe will be the final time.
Earlier this month, city officials estimated Bird e-scooters would hit the streets by the end of June. That is being pushed back to Aug. 1, according to city attorney Bill Nary.
Bird’s plans to deploy earlier this summer were halted when Lime, another e-scooter company, 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, Nary said, but Bird also doesn’t have enough scooters to expand until next month.
The city is requiring Bird to complete two weeks of public outreach before its rollout.
“We’ve been working closely with city officials to determine launch details as well as our plans for safety education in the community in advance of launch day,” Bird spokeswoman Mackenzie Long said in an email. She declined a phone interview.
Under the contract the city is working to finalize, Bird will be able to deploy with 150 scooters, and then can apply to increase that by 100 scooters every two weeks with a maximum of 500 scooters. City Council is scheduled to vote on the agreement July 9, Nary said. The contract will go until the end of the year, at which point the city will allow companies, including Lime, to reapply.
Lime and Bird both 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.
Lime deployed scooters in Meridian last fall, and pulled them from the streets after six days at the city’s request to work out some kinks.
Earlier this year, the city then set up a committee of staff and residents to review e-scooter companies’ proposals. Bird and Lime both responded to the city’s request for proposals for rideshare companies. The committee gave Bird a higher score, based on things like safety and customer service, and only recommended that the city enter a contract with Bird, not with Lime.
Lime appealed this decision, arguing that one of the seven committee members was biased against Lime. On June 11, Meridian City Council denied the appeal.