Bird is flying into more cities, and as the electric scooter-share company spreads its wings, it wants to make sure it doesn’t destroy communities with its short-range vehicles.
Bird expanded from Southern California this week to San Francisco and San Jose, California, along with Washington, D.C. With the expansion, CEO Travis VanderZanden introduced the “Save Our Sidewalks” pledge.
VanderZanden has proposed other scooter and bike-share companies, like LimeBike, Ofo, MoBike, and Jump, commit to a daily pick-up program, responsible growth of vehicle fleets, and revenue sharing with city governments.
For responsible growth, VanderZanden suggested adding more vehicles only if they are used three times per vehicle per day. For revenue sharing, companies would give $1 per vehicle per day to cities to set aside for transportation infrastructure.
In the letter, published online, he wrote, “Although we are competitors, we all share a passion for the transformation that we are all working to bring about. But as an industry of innovators, we need to lead not just on technology, but on social responsibility.”
VanderZander wants to make sure bike and scooter litter doesn’t plague cities adopting the new transportation option. In many Chinese cities where bike-shares have blown up, stolen, discarded, and abandoned vehicles have made bike-shares a mess. Australia too. Images like this “bike-share graveyard” should scare these companies into action.
The companies hadn’t responded to the letter as of Tuesday night. A Bird spokesperson said they were waiting on a response, saying, “We hope to be able to work with them to achieve our shared goals.”
Mashable will update this story if a response comes through.
UPDATE: March 28, 2018, 10:11 a.m. PDT Ofo, the major Chinese bike-sharing company that has expanded into several U.S. cities and other countries, called out Bird for its “SOS” proposal. The company believes the e-scooter share service should first work with city governments before operating.
“Bird has shown a clear trend in operating first without prior approval, and just like its approach to entering cities, it once again has resorted to bullying tactics to push an untested product and forgo any sort of community collaboration. We call on Bird to commit to safety first, follow ofo’s lead in working with cities and wait for permission to operate rather than placing unregulated e-scooters on the streets for anyone to access,” an Ofo spokesperson said in an email statement.