Santa Monica Daily Press)
Aug. 13, 2018 at 3:21 pm
Bird Scooters suddenly shuttered their operations in Santa Monica Monday afternoon in a bold move to save their business here. The local start-up failed to get the endorsement of a key committee for the City’s official electric scooter pilot program launching this September. After flooding the City with scooters over the summer in an attempt to compete, Lime also failed to win the endorsement.
Instead, the official selection committee recommended awarding contracts for Lyft and Jump (which is owned by Uber) to launch their own electric bike and scooter operations here.
“This group inexplicably scored companies with no experience ever operating shared e-scooters higher than Bird who invented this model right here in Santa Monica,” a Bird spokesperson wrote in an email to local riders. Both companies planned to rally outside City Hall at 5 p.m. Tuesday as City Council officials show up for their public meeting.
Until then, Bird says their scooters will remain inoperable in the city.
“Please let city leaders know how much you have come to depend on Bird, and how you would feel if you woke up one day and Bird was gone – because they decided two car-based rideshare corporations should own all of Santa Monica transportation,” Bird said.
It’s not clear whether the companies will try to force an item to get on the official agenda Tuesday. Santa Monica’s public information officer said any public comment on the scooter issue will likely take place after midnight when all other business has been concluded. Planning Director David Martin has the actual say on which four companies out of the thirteen that applied will get contracts to operate dockless rideshare services in the city.
The City Council approved a pilot program earlier this year that will award contracts to two electric scooter companies and two bike share companies. Each company submitted a detailed plan for how their shared mobility fleets would operate in the city. The selection committee made up of city staffers and a Santa Monica Police Department Lieutenant scored each company on seven categories including experience, operations, compliance and safety.