If you live in Los Angeles area, you’ve probably noticed these electric scooters flying around town from a company called Bird. Bird is a mobile app that allows you to rent portable electric scooters by the minute. Right now, the Bird’s scooters are mainly in Santa Monica to Venice, but I’ve seen them all over West Los Angeles and I wouldn’t be surprised if the company starts expanding soon.
I tried Bird and recorded a review, so check out the video below then scroll to the video transcript to see the points I cover in the video.
What is Bird, and how do you use it?
Unlike other Rideshare programs, that have docks where you pick up and drop off, Bird’s are free floating. You’ll find them all over the place. Birds get charged at night, so typically you wanna look for what’s called, a “Nest” in the morning.
Bird chargers, the people that actually charge the Birds overnight, are instructed to leave Bird scooters in groups of three. Keep an eye out for those, as it’s likely that chargers are going to leave the Birds in the same spot every morning. During peak times in the mornings, it can be especially hard to find though, because the service is so popular. When I’m riding Bird around town, people are always coming up to me, and asking me, “Hey, what are those scooters?” “How do I get one?” “How do I sign up for the apps?” So you can definitely tell that it’s not only popular with locals, it’s also really popular with tourists.
Venice and Santa Monica are super popular, and super touristy areas. So you get a lot of locals riding Birds, but you also get a lot of tourists riding them. Now, I’ve also found that people will actually hide Birds in their garage, or in their porches, which is kind of annoying.
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How to reserve a Bird, and how to find one
Sometimes you’ll see a Bird on the map on the app, but you won’t be able to find it. There’s an alarm chirp that you can activate, but it’s not super loud. You could also reserve Birds that you see on the street. So, you may come across a Bird while you’re walking, and try to reserve it, but it won’t be available. Now, this is typically because someone else has already reserved it, or it may be out of battery. As the day goes on, there will be less and less Birds out available on the street, since the Birds slowly run out of battery, and they don’t get charged until the end of the evening.
How much does Bird cost?
Right now, each ride cost $1 to get started, and then it is $0.15 a minute after. So, it’s pretty cheap. Once you’ve found a Bird, you can reserve and unlock the Bird, or you can use the scanning feature, to also scan the barcode and unlock the Bird that way. In order to start the Birds, all you have to do is give it a little kick-start, and then push down on the throttle to get it going. Birds are pretty easy to ride.
Bird scooter driving tips
They don’t go super fast, but they can go up to 15 miles per hour. And sometimes faster, if you’re going down hill. And they’ll definitely get you moving. You want to make sure that you ride in bike lanes when available, or in the street, over to the side. And braking is also pretty easy with Birds, all you have to do is squeeze the brake with your left hand. And I like to keep my hand hovered over the brake, just in case any pedestrians jumps out in front of my way.
I also have found that it’s nice to slow down a little bit when you’re going over big bumps, or big cracks, or anything like that in the streets. When you’re all done, you can actually park the Bird by a bike rack, or in an area that’s out of the way of pedestrians.
All right, so now that I’ve scootered all around town, I can definitely safely say that, I can see myself using this product in the future. But couple of areas that I think they can definitely improve, right now, it’s just not a service that I would rely on just yet. I think they’re a little bit of victim of their own success, there are just aren’t enough Birds out there, right. When you’re out riding around, you might run out of battery, and need a new one. Or you might be trying to find one, and you have to walk a few blocks to get one, and that sort of defeats the whole purpose of riding an electric scooter.
I think that they need to make some improvements on the app because I noticed has some bugs. It’s got some glitches, and it doesn’t always work seamlessly. Now I want to hear from you. When Bird comes to your city, let me know. Can you see yourself riding a service like this? Leave the comment below, and let me know.
If you’d like to try it, you can sign up for Bird here.
Want to try out Charging for Bird? – Click here
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