(UPDATE) Bird scooters flying away from Decatur
UPDATE: In September, the Decatur City Commission approved an ordinance regulating e-scooters. Scooter company Lime is currently allowed to operate within the city of Decatur.
A scooter rental company is telling its chargers – local contractors who find, charge and release the scooters – that it is pulling out of Decatur.
A spokesperson for the company, Bird, said the decision to leave Decatur will hopefully be temporary.
The company sent chargers a message that was forwarded to Decaturish asking them to collect any scooters in the city.
“Hey Charger, we’re sad to say we have to pull out of Decatur,” the message says. “Nests will be closed so if you see any Birds in Decatur please help us get them back to Atlanta.”
The city of Decatur also confirmed that the company is leaving Decatur, while saying that another operator, Lime, intends to stay in the city.
A spokesperson for Bird told Decaturish, “Bird has been proud to serve the community of Decatur and we are grateful for the close relationship we have built with city officials and staff. We have chosen to temporarily pause our service in the short term, though we hope to return to the road in the near future.”
The City Commission last month began the process of regulating e-scooters despite protests that the regulations under consideration would drive the scooter companies out of Decatur.
Commissioners discussed the topic at length during their Dec. 17 meeting and authorized the city manager to negotiate agreements with these companies. The city is regulating where scooters can be parked, the number of scooters allowed by each company and assessing a fee for their operation in Decatur.
At its regular meeting on Jan. 22, Arnold said the agreement was being finalized and was awaiting signatures from the scooter rental companies.
Arnold said on Friday, Jan. 25, that Bird declined to sign the agreement.
“The deadline for signing an agreement was Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 5 p.m.,” Arnold said. “Bird advised that they were not prepared to execute an agreement but would like to continue the dialogue. Lime did sign the agreement and will be deploying rental e-scooters in the city consistent with terms of the agreement. During early 2019, the city’s intention is to continue to work with industry representatives, city advisory board members and members of the public to craft a regulating and permitting ordinance that will assure that pedestrian rights-of way are protected while offering a last mile transportation mobility option through e-scooters.”