Float like a butterfly, scoot like a Bird: eScooters now available for rent in Manchester

Ecofriendly, Bird scooters help bridge the transportation gap between downtown and the bustling millyard.

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Scooters, activate: As seen on Elm Street. All you need to do is download the Bird app on your smartphone, load it with some $$ and get scooting. Photo/Bill Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – Electric scooters are now an option for getting around the city.

Thanks to a partnership between the city and Los Angeles-based Bird Rides, you will begin seeing the blue scooters making the rounds as a new alternative for getting from here to there. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the scooter proposal during its July 6 meeting.

To start using the eScooters, simply download the Bird app, put aside some money toward rides and reserve a scooter for $1 per ride, plus .39 cents per minute.

“This is an exciting opportunity here in the City,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “We heard from a lot of businesses, who were looking for micromobility options for their employees to easily travel from the Millyard to downtown. I’m thrilled Bird is now here in Manchester, giving residents a new, fun way to travel around our City.”

The company plans to offer scooters to residents and visitors in order to help reduce carbon emissions, as well as traffic congestion on roadways. The scooters also provide a safe way to get around and offer residents without cars another transportation option.

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The app will help you locate a Bird scooter. Promotional Photo/Bird.co

“The young professional community in Manchester could not be more excited to have Bird Rides coming to the city. Many of us really believe these scooters will make the downtown community more accessible and commuter friendly,”  said Holly Blanchard, co-chair of Manchester Young Professionals (MYP) Advisory Council. “We discussed Bird coming to Manchester at a recent MYP Advisory Council meeting and the overwhelming enthusiasm from council members was clear – it’s game changing. To not have to worry about parking and be able to get around the city more quickly and efficiently is something the YP community has been waiting for. I’m thrilled for this opportunity to be presented to the Manchester community and look forward to seeing tourists take advantage of the many great things this city has to offer.”

Mike Collins, CEO and founder of Alumni Ventures is also excited for Bird’s arrival.

“It’s great to see Manchester taking steps to support commercial activity and a vibrant downtown.  As a company with 70+ employees moving from Elm Street to the Millyard later this year, we know it’s important to keep professionals coming to work in this city and visiting our shops and cafes — after all, the empty downtown we all experienced last spring isn’t good for anyone,” Collins said. “We’ve already had a few employees buy a bike helmet this week to keep at the office for quick trips around town, and we encourage folks to be safe and responsible whether on bike, foot, car, or scooter.”

Bookery owner Liz Hitchcock spotted the scooters on Tuesday and sees them as a great transportation in and around the city.

“This is a great opportunity for downtown, having last-mile transportation options come into our city is a game-changer for mobility between Elm Street and the Millyard. With Bird, we’ll be able to make those connections much easier. Huge thanks to the Mayor and Aldermen for approving this program,”  Hitchcock said.

Echoing Hitchcock’s enthusiasm was Gray Chynoweth, CEO of Minim.

“As a resident and someone trying to grow a business in Manchester, it is very exciting to see the city take this forward-thinking action to support downtown businesses, residents and visitors. For many people this type of service becomes a litmus test — as it was with Uber and Lyft. If you don’t have these amenities, you aren’t a place they will choose to stay, work and play,” he said.

The electric scooters can be used on roads and in bike lanes and have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. Scooters must be parked out of the way of pedestrians and never blocking sidewalks. Riders are required to be at least 18 years-old to access the scooters. They are also encouraged to wear a helmet on every ride and are required to obey all standard rules of the road.

Bird offers the following programs that are available for all who qualify:

  • Community Pricing: Bird’s Community Pricing Program offers a 50 percent discount to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans, and senior citizens. It’s designed to be the most inclusive micromobility discount program available anywhere. To sign up for the Community Pricing Program, download the Bird app, create an account, and email your proof of eligibility to access@bird.co.
  • Free Rides for Healthcare Workers and Emergency Personnel: Bird is proud to offer free rides to healthcare workers and emergency personnel. To sign up, simply email a copy of your medical identification card along with your name and phone number to together@bird.co. Eligible riders will receive two free 30-minute rides per day for as long as it takes to help our communities to recover from this global health crisis.
  • Community Mode: Community Mode allows anyone with a Bird account to report or provide feedback on scooter-related issues such as poorly parked or damaged scooters in their area. When a report is submitted, a member of the Bird team is assigned to correct the issue. Anyone can access Community Mode by tapping the yield sign on the bottom left of the Bird map.

If a resident has questions or concerns about the e-scooters the company can be reached directly at 1-866-205-2442 or hello@bird.co. More information about the company can be found on their website and on their blog.

Q&A with the Bird people

How are the scooters secured when not in use?

When a rider reaches their destination and concludes their trip, they simply tap “end ride” in the app. Once the ride has ended, the vehicle is automatically locked and can only be unlocked once a new ride is initiated.

Once I use a scooter, do I have to add a pin to the map to show where it’s available or does that happen automatically? Or must it be returned to where I got it? 

Bird scooters are designed to take you where you want to go, when you need to go there and to encourage people to use scooters in place of a gas-powered car for trips that are 3 miles or less. You can find a Bird either by seeing one on the street or by opening the app. Once you find a Bird, you can scan the QR code with your mobile phone and ride to your destination. Once you reach your destination, and after properly parking the Bird, you can end your ride. Each Bird is equipped with GPS and other sophisticated sensors that help ensure that available Birds can be seen in the app.

Are there particular designated locations where they will always be available?

Bird vehicles will be placed in nests, or groupings of 1-4 vehicles. The placement of the nests may change over time, days of the week or time of day based on traffic and demand patterns in the city. To see no-ride zones in your community, open the app and note the red areas.

What prevents people from just stealing them?

The scooters are equipped with anti-theft encryption and technologies which keeps rides safe and helps deter theft. Without the ability to “unlock” a Bird via the app, it is not usable.

How many scooters are in Manchester now? 

We are very excited to provide eco-friendly transportation services to the residents and visitors in Manchester. You can view the number of vehicles we have available at any time by opening the app.

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