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OLD TOWN, Maine — After launching earlier this week, 44 Bird battery-powered scooters are now on the streets of Old Town. The company currently extends to 350 locations.
Riders download the Bird app before hopping onto the scooter and pay a $1 fee to unlock it. Users then pay an additional per-minute fee.
Kirk Fields was out riding with his grandson, who was learning how to ride a bike, and used a Bird scooter to keep up with the young learner.
“Certainly if you have a backpack it would make commuting and shopping easier,” Fields said. “It takes a little skill to ride and you would certainly want to have a helmet, I would think.”
Old Town is the first city in Maine to partner with Bird. All costs, including upfront and maintenance, are paid by Bird.
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Bird worked with Old Town to map out a “geo-fence” around where it’s safe to ride. If you go outside those boundaries, the scooter will slowly come to a stop until the rider turns around.
This year will act as a pilot stage for Bird and Old Town to see what works. Once winter weather comes to Maine, Bird will collect the scooters and return them to the streets next spring.
“We hope that as this pilot program works through, we’ll identify areas we want to expand to, find areas that we don’t want scooters ridden in. We have geo-fenced some community areas such as cemeteries and such that the scooters aren’t allowed to be ridden in, and it’s a learning curve,” E.J. Roach, director of economic and community development for Old Town, said.
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“We encourage people to ride on the streets as they would with a normal bicycle. We ask that they try not to ride on the sidewalks and keep it where you would normally ride a bike. Follow the rules, wear a helmet, be safe, and have fun,” he said.
Part of Bird’s partnership with Old Town offers healthcare workers and emergency personnel two free 30 minute rides per day, and low income riders can get a 50 percent discount.
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