Bird pulls scooters and e-bikes from Overland Park

Bird scooters parked in Prairie Village last year. That city also conducted a pilot program with Bird, which ended last year. File photo.

A couple of months ago, Bird Rides removed all of its scooters and e-bikes from Overland Park, the city says, citing a “lack of staffing.” 

First, Bird picked up all of the e-bikes in the early part of the summer.

Then, the e-scooters disappeared in August, Brian Shields, Overland Park’s traffic engineer, said at the city’s Community Development Committee meeting last week. 

Since then, communication between the company and the city has been spotty, Shields said.

After multiple messages to the company went unanswered, someone from Bird did eventually reach out to say the person who was managing the Bird e-device fleets locally had left the company. 

Overland Park got scooters, e-bikes in 2022

Overland Park entered into a pilot program with Bird in early 2022, which allowed the company to deploy its scooters and e-bikes in the city, primarily in the northern parts of the community. 

In July of 2022, 75 scooters and 25 e-bikes from Bird arrived in Overland Park. Riders could access the devices by paying through an app, and the city collected 25 cents per ride. 

Nearly 22,000 Bird bike and scooter rides were reported while the devices were available in Overland Park, Shields said, with most of those rides being on scooters. 

The initial agreement was scheduled to expire at the end of November. 

The City of Overland Park has launched a two-year pilot program for Bird electronic rental scooters. The scooters have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and can be ridden on bike lanes, sidewalks and some streets within city limits. Above, Mayor Curt Skoog takes a ride across Clock Tower Plaza in downtown Overland Park Tuesday. Photo via City of Overland Park.
Mayor Curt Skoog riding a Bird e-scooter across Clock Tower Plaza in downtown Overland Park in 2022. Photo via City of Overland Park.

Overland Park might get another scooter provider

  • The city could sign a contract with another company to provide more e-bikes and scooters. 
  • Lime, another scooter provider, had a representative attend last week’s Community Development Committee meeting, where the devices were discussed. 
  • Alternatively, Overland Park could put out a request for proposals to pick one or multiple companies to deploy scooters and bikes or both in the city. 
  • Overland Park could also let the initial pilot program with Bird lapse at the end of this month and decide to stop allowing vendor-provided shared mobility devices within city limits. 
  • At last week’s committee meeting, most city councilmembers present seemed more inclined toward the first two options, interested in exploring ways to make scooters and e-bikes a viable transportation alternative. 

Olathe’s scooters are also gone

  • City officials in Olathe said Bird scooters have also essentially disappeared there, too. 
  • Cody Kennedy, the city’s chief communications officer, told the Post that Olathe did “not receive any correspondence from Bird regarding ending early.” 
  • He also said recent emails to contacts at Bird whom the city of Olathe has worked with in the past have “bounced back.” 
  • Olathe’s pilot program is also set to end on Nov. 30. 
  • Previously, Prairie Village did not renew its scooter pilot program with Bird. 
A Bird e-scooter parked against a brick wall. Cities like Overland Park and Olathe allow them.
A Bird e-scooter parked against a brick wall. File photo.

Next steps:

  • The Overland Park City Council Public Works Committee will take up the issue of scooters and e-bikes on Nov. 20, Shields said. 
  • From there, the city will make a decision about starting a new pilot with a different scooter provider or ending the use of the devices in Overland Park altogether. 
  • Starting a new pilot program would require a vote from the full Overland Park City Council. 

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