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Company to double e-scooter count in Springfield, expand reach

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Doing business in Springfield since September, international e-scooter rental company Bird Rides Inc. is expanding starting tomorrow.

Bird, through its agreement with the city of Springfield, is nearly doubling its e-scooter count to 100 from 55 and expanding service boundaries beyond downtown, Commercial Street and Missouri State University, according to a news release.

“We have seen much greater e-scooter ridership than we anticipated, with more than 30,000 rental rides since Bird launched in fall of 2022,” said Grady Porter, city traffic engineer, in the release. “This comes with a small number of formal complaints that the city and Bird have addressed quickly. So far, we have only seen one reported crash involving a rented e-scooter.”

The expanded boundaries extend roughly to Kearney Street in the north, Glenstone Avenue to the east, Cherokee Street to the south and Kansas Expressway to the west.

Porter said in the release that the expansion would provide additional transportation options to areas such as Mercy Hospital Springfield, Bass Pro Shops and the Grant Avenue Parkway.

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

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