MINOT — Electric scooters could soon be another means of public transportation in Minot.
The Minot City Council agreed on Monday to move forward in creating an agreement with Bird Scooters to bring an electric scooter transportation service to Minot. [agenda here]
“We are looking for direction on the city staff to work with Bird on a memorandum of understanding or whether to not proceed with Bird,” said Stephen Joersz, traffic engineer.
Bird is a shared electrical vehicle company dedicated to bringing affordable, environmentally friendly transportation solutions to communities.
Bird representative Michael Covato proposed that they could bring their electric scooter services to Minot at no cost for the city. However, individuals wanting to use their services will need to pay through a mobile application.
“The way that our system works… individuals will download a mobile application on their smartphone and see one of the units either throughout their community or via the map functionality on the smartphone,” explained Covato.
Once an individual has downloaded the application and created an account, the user will be prompted to watch a brief safety tutorial and then can enjoy the ride.
It costs $1 to start a Bird scooter, then each session accumulates fees per minute. A helmet selfie feature is a way for riders to receive credits for their next ride as well.
“Ballpark, what is the cost to the user? If I take one of these and go for lunch and have it for an hour and fifteen minutes, what is my cost roughly?” asked Alderman Mark Jantzer.
Covato responded, “Assuming it will be about a 10-to-15-minute trip in Minot, you are probably looking at five dollars.”
The scooter model that will likely be in Minot is the BirdZero, equipped with brakes, front and rear LEDs, speed capped at 15 mph, and can cover up to 30 miles on a full charge.
Locations of Bird scooters will be agreed upon in the memorandum of understanding and will provide opportunities for businesses in Minot to become “fleet managers,” i.e., those who help manage, recharge, and retrieve scooters after their use.
Bird scooters have already made their way in Bismarck and Williston. According to Covato, they have scooters in over 400 cities throughout the world.
Once the memorandum is completed, it will be presented before the city council for final approval. Potentially, Bird scooters will be available in Minot this upcoming spring.