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E-scooters are required to be parked at designated areas.
provided by city of Springfield
E-scooters are required to be parked at designated areas.

E-scooter company launches service in Springfield

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A new form of transportation is rolling out in the Queen City.

International e-scooter rental company Bird Rides Inc. today is launching rental operations in Springfield, according to a city news release. Bird is the first e-scooter company licensed by the city to rent or deploy from public right of way.

“Over the past year or so, city staff have been carefully preparing for the arrival of e-scooter companies in Springfield,” said Grady Porter, engineer for the Public Works Department's traffic engineering division, in the release. "We worked alongside several interested companies and also conducted our own research into the benefits and potential drawbacks e-scooters offer. We believe we now have new municipal code in place that will help support micromobility companies while also avoiding some of the issues other communities have experienced.”

Bird is permitted by the city to operate 20 e-scooters in designated areas in the downtown and Commercial Street districts. The company also intends to offer 30 e-scooters at Missouri State University's campus through a contract with the school.

E-scooters will be required to park in one of 23 designated scooter parking areas marked with green striping, according to the release. Geofencing is being used to keep the scooters from traveling outside of the designated districts; the scooters are programmed to stop being operational if the user exits the boundaries.

“We applaud the city of Springfield for their commitment to offering convenient, environmentally friendly and reliable transportation options to residents and visitors,” said Austin Marshburn, head of city and university partnerships at Bird, in the release.

While Bird is the only city-licensed business to rent or deploy on city right of way, it's not the only e-scooter company in town.

Eway Scooters LLC, owned by Marquez Williams, was awarded a $5,000 grant in June through the Ascend program, a partnership between the Downtown Springfield Association, U.S. Bank, MSU's Efactory and the Multicultural Business Association, according to past reporting.

City spokesperson Kristen Milam said while Eway is operational, the company can only rent e-scooters from its place of business. Bird, since it's licensed by the city, can have designated rental locations on public right of way, she said.

"The city is open to any company who is interested in operating on the public right of way, but they must first apply and follow the process outlined in City Code Section 98, which requires the submission of a business plan, encroachment agreement, cooperative agreement, insurance, among other things," Milam said via email.

Bird’s app-based service allows users to rent and reserve an e-scooter that becomes functional after scanning a QR code, according to The rides are timed and payment is issued through the app.


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