July Recap: NY Chooses Bird, The UK Opens and Scooters Come Back to Chicago

It was another significant month for micromobility as an increasing number of cities throughout the US and Europe either kicked off or ramped up their electric scooter programs.

Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest developments that happened in July.

Bird Scooters Return to Chicago

On July 29th, the City of Chicago announced that it had chosen Bird to operate in its 2020 e-scooter pilot set to launch early next month. The program is slated to run until December and will permit Bird and two other selected micromobility providers to operate fleets of up to 3,300 vehicles each. 

“As more major American cities turn to electric scooters to provide residents with a safe and socially distant means of personal transportation, Bird will continue to put our industry leading operational experience and vehicle expertise to work to help make these new micromobility programs a success,” said Bird CEO and founder Travis VanderZanden. 

This is the second scooter pilot that Chicago has run since 2019 with a goal of expanding access to safe, reliable and equitable mobility options for all city residents. Bird was chosen to operate in last year’s program as well.

New York Chooses Bird to Launch First Micromobility Pilot

Just 10 miles northeast of Manhattan, Yonkers has announced that it will be the first city in New York State to launch an electric scooter pilot starting in August. And the exclusive operator they’ve chosen to manage the program? Bird.

“Yonkers is pleased to once again lead the way as a progressive city in offering smart, emission-free transportation solutions for our community,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “Partnering with Bird will provide residents and visitors the opportunity to travel our city with ease and convenience all while being affordable, reliable and fun.”

The first Bird Two electric scooters will begin rolling out in Yonkers in the coming weeks. 

UK Legalizes Micromobility, Approves Bird Scooters

July marked a turning point in the UK’s quest to get micromobility operations launched this summer. The national government officially legalized shared e-scooters for use on city streets on July 4. Less than two weeks later, our Bird One received approval from the Department for Transport to operate in UK city trials. 

As we explained in detail shortly after the announcement, Bird’s distinct advantage in vehicle engineering means that scooters like our Bird One can be counted among the safest and most advanced in the world. They’re equipped with features that will help micromobility thrive in the UK, including dual independent brakes, industry-leading battery waterproofing, bluetooth connectivity and state of the art fault detection that scans our vehicles millions of times per day.

Beyond the vehicles themselves, we’re also committed to helping UK cities learn from our experience as the pioneers of the micromobility industry. Bird’s Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer Rebecca Hahn penned an article in late July explaining how Britain could quickly lead the world in scooter parking using three tried-and-true techniques. Learn more about them here.

Summer Rewards Programs Kick Off

With many travel plans postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19, Bird has been working to help riders make the most of their summers spent closer to home. In mid-July, we launched our Summer Days by Bird campaign offering free scooter rides to first time Bird riders in select European cities whose travel plans have been interrupted because of the pandemic. The industry-first initiative is intended to give people another reason to explore their home cities, trying out new local businesses and things to do. 

We also rolled out a rewards pilot program in Germany. Dubbed “Frequent Flyer,” the program gives back to Bird riders who accumulate trips over a 28-day period by automatically enrolling them in one of three corresponding rewards categories.

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