Bird Electric Scooters Offer New Transportation Option in Burlington

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Bird is the word around Burlington, with the addition of 75 available Bird electric scooters.

The scooters, which arrived in Burlington on Friday, are brought to Southeast Iowa by Burlington resident Jermel Brown.

Brown first discovered Bird scooters while exploring downtown St. Louis for his grandson’s birthday in April.

“I really enjoyed them in St. Louis,” said Brown. “Every time I walked out of the hotel, I just got on one.”

Edison Heckenberg of Burlington rides one of the 75 Bird electric scooters available for use Wednesday in Burlington.  Amy Moyner, executive director of Downtown Partners, Inc. noted that scooters will help reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion, while city manager Chad Bird said electric scooters will help bridge the gap between public transportation. and a person's home or work.  .

Brown loved riding scooters so much that he tried to buy one when he got home. Instead, he ended up investing in a fleet, or herd, of electric scooters from Bird Rides, a Los Angeles-based company with similar franchises in cities large and small across the United States.

Brown said that in making the decision to pursue his very first franchise, he thought about the opportunities that scooters would offer Burlington residents, both in terms of transportation and recreation.

So far they have been successful, having already attracted loyal customers.

A Bird electric scooter sits outside the Des Moines County Courthouse in Burlington on Tuesday.

“A lot of people say they’re happy to be here,” Brown said. “They are happy to be able to use them, and I’m glad people are enjoying them.”

One of the early runners was Mayor Jon Billups.

“I’ve already taken one for a ride,” Billups said, explaining that he only had time to walk it for half a block. “It was really fun.”

Billups also noted that scooters are a welcome attraction for tourists and visitors.

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Amy Moyner, executive director of Downtown Partners, Inc. noted that scooters will help reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion, while city manager Chad Bird said electric scooters will help bridge the gap between public transportation. and a person’s home or work. .

“More transportation options can bring many benefits to the city, including an efficient and easy mode of transportation to visit various local settlements and monuments,” Bird said.

Electric scooters are available for rent at the “Bird Nest” site across from Glowin ‘Hands, 210 N. Central Ave., a hair braiding salon owned by his wife, Becky “Thee Braider” Brown, and his Girlfriend, Jasmine Hollowman.

Brown also places scooters along the Burlington River and throughout downtown.

Brown is able to monitor scooters – and their batteries, which last 30 miles or two full days – from his phone and computer. When the battery drops to 20% or less, it picks up the scooter, brings it to a charging station and places a fully charged one in its place.

Teddy Heckenberg, front, and his cousin Adison Heckenberg, both of Burlington, ride two of the 75 Bird electric scooters available for use on Wednesday August 4, 2021 in downtown Burlington.  Amy Moyner, executive director of Downtown Partners, Inc. noted that scooters will help reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion, while city manager Chad Bird said electric scooters will help bridge the gap between public transportation. and a person's home or work.  .

“I track them and I watch them,” Brown said. “It’ll tell me which scooters are damaged, so I’ll take them home and fix them.”

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Brown is also able to define the area in which the scooters are operational. Currently, this radius covers the area from south of Koestner Street to south of Sunnyside Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue by the river. They will also work along Division Street to west of West Burlington Avenue and just south of West Avenue Road.

The area includes places like Silgan Containers, Alfogomma, Hungry Bear, Des Moines County Humane Society, Buffalo Wild Wings, Bluff Harbor Marina, and Crapo Park, to name a few.

“It’s a nice little ray,” Brown said. “You can go pretty far with them.”

Scooters will turn off if they are moved out of this radius, although Brown can still follow them when they are turned off.

A Bird electric scooter sits on Tuesday under the Great River Bridge in Burlington.

How to rent a Bird scooter

Those who want to use scooters just need to download the Bird Rides app, available for Android and iPhone.

The application displays a map of the locations of the available scooters, as well as their charge level.

Through the app, users can book a scooter and invite others to join a group.

The app can be downloaded in advance by searching the App Store or locally by swiping your phone’s camera over the QR code on the scooter handlebars.

Once the account has been created and the user’s location determined, the QR code is used to activate the rental.

Riders must be 18 years or older to access a scooter.

The cost of a ride is $ 1 activation fee and 35 cents per minute used.

The app will bill your account for the trip.

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What to know before you go

Scooters can be used on roads and in cycle paths and have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.

Riders are encouraged to wear a helmet and must obey the rules of the road. When cyclists are finished with a scooter, they should park it out of the pedestrian path and in a location where it will not block the aisles.

Anyone needing help with the scooters can stop inside Glowin ‘Hands from 9 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday and ask for help from Hollowman or Becky “Thee Braider”.

The scooters are operational from 4 a.m. to midnight.

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Discounts available

The Bird Rides Community Pricing Program offers a 50% discount to low-income cyclists, Pell Grant recipients, some local non-profit and community organizations, veterans and seniors.

To register for the program, download the Bird app, create an account, and email proof of eligibility to [email protected]

Two free 30-minute trips per day are available for healthcare workers and emergency personnel, who can register by emailing a copy of their medical ID card with their name and phone number to [email protected]

Those with questions or concerns about electric scooters can call the company at (866) 205-2442 or email [email protected]


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