MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The City of Minneapolis has authorized four operators that will enter in license agreements in its shared motorized foot scooter pilot program.
On Monday, city officials announced that the operators include JUMP, Lyft, Spin and Lime. Notably absent from operators is Bird, which was one of the operators last year.
Under the pilot program, scooters will be capped at 2,000 and will be evenly divided among the operators.
“A maximum of 800 scooters are allowed downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, and at least 600 scooters must be distributed in areas of concentrated poverty in north, northeast and south Minneapolis,” the city said in a statement.
City officials say that equity and safety are key focus areas for the pilot program.
“Beyond the scooter distribution requirements, operators are required to have low-income pricing programs and alternative access options for people who don’t have smartphones or require a cash payment option. They are also required to have ongoing education and outreach on safe riding and proper parking behavior, as well as the previously mentioned equitable pricing and access initiatives,” the city said.
The goal of the scooter pilot program, according to the city, is “to determine how to best position scooters as a long-term viable transportation option for all in Minneapolis, and align with the work of the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan update.”
Last year, Bird and Lime were the scooter options for Minneapolis. The city of Minneapolis released a statement addressing why Bird wasn’t considered.
“To be considered for participation in the 2019 pilot, vendors submitted responses to an RFQ which included specific questions to evaluate how well the vendor aligns with requirements and goals of the pilot. After evaluation of RFQ responses, there were four vendors who submitted proposals that met City goals, including JUMP, Lyft, Spin, and Lime. The evaluation did not include consideration for participating in the 2018 pilot in Minneapolis. Bird’s responses to questions related to climate, equity, and prosperity goals were below expectations,” the city said.
On Monday Afternoon, Bird sent a statement on Minneapolis’ decision:
“We are concerned with the direction of Minneapolis’ plans for e-scooters, and are working to get a thorough understanding of how city officials came to the disappointing result that they did. With unmatched operational experience, the highest self-imposed safety standards, and unrivaled dedication to sustainability, Bird remains committed to serving both of the Twin Cities. The people of Minneapolis deserve the best, and we continue to hear from residents and community organizations that they miss having Bird in town,” a Bird representative said.
Bird said, in less than one day, more than 800 emails were sent to city officials by residents asking Bird to remain part of the Minneapolis community.
The extended pilot program runs through March 31, 2020.