Council members on Feb. 16 unanimously approved a proposal to move forward with considering a maximum 24-month pilot program agreement presented by Bird Rides Inc.
Bird would manage the program (provide scooters, chargers and managing equipment) and pay the city for scooters to be used on city streets. Bird carries liability insurance on the scooters and pays the city 5 cents per ride; the program costs the city nothing.
City Manager/Engineer Alicia Heiser said the program may start with a fleet of 50 scooters and add more later if needed.
Council members and staff questioned whether there would be a demand in Winnemucca, which has a population of roughly 7,500. According to the city, the program would likely be seasonal when roads are clear and more heavily used when there are larger events that bring visitors.
Bird’s mission is, “to get people out of cars, reduce traffic and bring communities together by providing an affordable, environmentally-friendly transit alternative.”
Riders would use a smartphone app to locate an available scooter to rent and unlock for an initial $1 fee and then a designated per-minute fee for the ride time.
Bird works with local entrepreneurs from the community to manage the fleet on the ground, with part of the ride fees cost-shared with fleet managers. Bird said they provide the tools, operational experience and technology to help the fleet managers be successful.