St. Paul to Bird: Get scooters off the streets by midnight

Bird scooters parked along Seventh Street in St. Paul.
Bird scooters parked along Seventh Street at Cedar Street in St. Paul, July 10, 2018.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The city of St. Paul has given a scooter rental company until midnight Friday to get its scooters off the streets.

But this isn't necessarily the end for the app-based shared transportation alternative. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said the city is creating a pilot program that will allow the electric scooters stay. The company, Bird, said it is working with the city.

In a statement, Carter said a temporary regulatory framework will go to the City Council on Aug. 1 for approval and will allow Bird and other e-scooter companies to operate legally in the city.

"We are working closely with the city on their permitting process so that Bird is a reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly transportation option for the people of St. Paul," a Bird spokesperson said.

The scooters appeared on city streets last week, unannounced, as the California-based Bird scooter rental company launched an expansion into Minnesota, in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The scooters are rented via a phone-based app that collects payment information, asks for personal identification and tracks usage of the scooter.

The app also requires a multi-step user agreement that says riders have to wear helmets, have a valid driver's license and other requirements. The initial cost is $1, with another 15 cents a minute to ride.

The city had already told the company to remove the scooters on July 10, saying it didn't comply with city ordinance.

Minneapolis is also weighing the legal status of the scooters. A city council committee voted to approve new rules governing scooter app rentals in that city. The full council is expected to take up the proposed ordinance Friday.

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