It won’t just be Milwaukee that will have electric scooters on the streets this year.
Wauwatosa’s Board of Public Works recently approved an agreement with Bird Rides to have them operate their scooters starting the week of March 29.
Director of Public Works David Simpson tells WTMJ the city approved an ordinance allowing a company to operate scooters back in September of 2019. “Bird (Rides) approached us probably a few months ago, starting to look at options here in Wauwatosa. That’s really how it all came about.
“They approached the city asking what would they need to do to come to Wauwatosa, and we informed them about our ordinances and rules and terms of condition and things like that. They expressed interest and we went through the process from there.”
Bird will have one of their employees in the city to manage deployment, maintenance and recharging the around 150 scooters that will be in Wauwatosa this year.
People age 18 and older interested in using one will need to download the company’s app on their phone so they can locate where a scooter can be rented and unlocked. Paying for their use, which will be by the minute, will also be done through the app.
As part of the city’s ordinance, electric scooters can be used on roads, bike lanes and multi-use trails. “Pretty much anywhere you are allowed to bike,” says Simpson. In addition, people can not leave them blocking driveways and pedestrian walkways when they are not in use, and wearing a helmet is encouraged.
Simpson adds there are several goals for allowing electric scooters in Wauwatosa. “Our goal is to reduce congestion and offer more options to the community, and at the same time it also helps us with our sustainability initiatives. Scooters are definitely much lower on fossil fuel demands and can really help reduce the number of times someone is in a single-occupant vehicle.”
Weather permitting, the scooters could be placed in the city starting Monday, March 29. Otherwise, they are expected to arrive later in the week.
If a problem takes place with using a scooter, Simpson says people can reach out to Bird directly through the app. The company can also be reached by calling 1-866-205-2442.
Overall, Simpson is optimistic things go well with having electric scooters in Wauwatosa. “I’ve used them before and definitely found them easy to use, and I know others have as well. Hopefully our residents and visitors think so as well.”