- In partnership with city of Paris, Bird announced it will direct its scooter riders to park in predetermined locations around the city to keep them out of the pedestrian right of way.
- The in-app feature will use visual reference points, real-time navigation and alerts to send riders to an approved parking space. The policy will be enforced through geofencing and the Bird Watcher program, which hires people to move scooters to parking spots.
- Parking in the designated spots is not mandatory, but riders who do will get money off their next ride. The parking spots can also be set up and changed under the guidance of the city.
Clutter has been a major problem for dockless scooter and bike companies, and cities have sought strategies to rein in vehicles being left in the middle of sidewalks and streets. It's especially been a problem for the disabled community; earlier this year, Disability Rights California filed a class action lawsuit against three scooter companies and the city of San Diego for endangering clients by blocking sidewalks.
Cities have tried to take action by limiting the number of vehicles that are permitted or encouraging companies to create parking zones. Regulations have been slow to take action, however, and still rely on riders treating the scooters responsibly.
San Diego-based startup ScootScoop takes a third-party approach, removing improperly parked dockless companies and putting them in a shipping company for operators to pick up. That company is the subject of a lawsuit by Bird.
Most action has been limited to voluntary steps from companies through public education campaigns, geofencing technology or manually moving scooters through programs like the Bird Watchers. The latest effort from Bird came in collaboration with the city, and that could be the model going forward.
Spin and Swiftmile have taken an infrastructure-focused approach by debuting solar-powered scooter parking stations in Washington, DC and Ann Arbor, MI, part of a pilot to see if riders can be directed to shared parking spaces.