'Bird' Scooter Service Launches Illegally in St. Louis

The 'Bird'-branded scooters were unloaded early in the morning in St. Louis neighborhoods.

Michael Calhoun
July 19, 2018 - 12:57 pm

Provided photo

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- Electric scooters showed up on many city sidewalks and street corners today, but as KMOX's Michael Calhoun tells us, they might not be there for long.

The 'Bird'-branded scooters were unloaded early in the morning in St. Louis neighborhoods including downtown, Fairgrounds Park, Old North, O'Fallon Park and Soulard.

"As ridership grows, we will adjust the number of Birds and areas they’re available based on rider demand," a company spokesperson said in an email.

The company didn't share exactly how many scooters they've deployed, but their business model is similar to the Lime Bike and Ofo bike share services that recently launched in the city. You use an app on your phone to rent a bike (or, in this case, a scooter) for a short amount of time and just leave it where you end up.

One big difference is that Bird launched without a permit here, making it illegal.

We're told the traffic commissioner asked the company to remove the scooters -- for now. A city spokesman says it's not a vindictive move; he says they support dockless programs like these.

The city's Board of Public Service was already slated to vote next week on adding electric scooters to bike share regulations.