The rentable electric scooters are coming.
Once the snow melts, they reappear on sidewalks across Laramie, Casper, and Cheyenne, and their numbers grow as the weather gets warmer. California-based Bird Ride has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Cheyenne to operate nearly 400 of the electric scooters and the City of Laramie has agreed to 75. Casper has around 100.
The number in Laramie may increase to nearly 400. Bird's competitor, San Francisco-based Lime, requested an MOU from the city council on Tuesday to begin operations in Laramie.
The company plans to operate 200 to 300 electric scooters at peak, but it will start with 100, according to the companys proposal.
Riders use an app to scan a QR code on the scooter, which unlocks the dockless vehicle, as they're officially called. The scooter transmits its location, so the rider can't go outside a defined area or drive off with one. Once the riders are done with the dockless vehicle, they take a photo of where it's parked and the app charges them for the time.
Bird did not respond to requests for comment on this article.
Robert Gardner, director of Government Relations for Lime, told Cowboy State Daily the company is excited about bringing "sustainable transportation options" to Wyoming.
"We hope to work with the council and all stakeholders to design a micro mobility program that will help Laramie residents and visitors get to where they need to go, sustainably," Gardner said.
Gardner didn't answer questions about any other cities the company might look to for future operations.
According to the proposal provided to the City of Laramie, Lime charges $1 to unlock the scooter and $0.39 per minute to ride. They offer day passes for $16.99 and $5.99 to avoid unlock charges for a month.
Lime keeps mechanics on staff who, according to the proposal, repair 15 to 20 scooters every day.
They also have what the company calls "juicers." These are members of the community who pick up the scooter when the battery is low. They recharge the vehicles and then redeploy them when theyre ready to ride.
The scooters can withstand temperatures ranging from -50 degrees to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cheyenne was the first to partner with Bird in July 2021, just before Cheyenne Frontiers Days started. Casper and Laramie joined the following month.
Cheyenne council member Richard Johnson voted against the MOU in 2021, because he disagreed with how the vote was being rushed to get the scooters on the street ahead of Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Now, nearly two years later, he told Cowboy State Daily he hasn't heard a lot of complaints about the vehicles. There was one member of the public who voiced concerns about the scooters at a council meeting a couple years ago, Johnson said, but since the scooters have been deployed the complaints have been few.
One council member, Johnson said, got a complaint about the scooters being spotted in The Pointe, a neighborhood on the northern edge of the city. The resident thought that the scooters were limited to just downtown.
Cheyenne council member Patrick Collins told Cowboy State Daily he's heard a few complaints.
"I get comments from folks that hate the fact that people drop them off wherever theyre at in yards or blocking sidewalks. People with disabilities have a hard time getting around them," Collins said, adding that despite the odd complaint, the scooters are popular.
"I see a lot of people using them. So I think folks are enjoying that service," Collins said.
Cheyenne council member Scott Roybal told Cowboy State Daily the only complaints hes heard are about accidents.
"They went off the street and hit some construction or something. They fell off, went too fast or had a few too many beers. Who knows?" Roybal said.
He said the scooters are getting a lot of use and they provide another amenity for residents.
"You see people using them, even when its cold, if there's no snow," Roybal said.
Strange New Thing
Casper Mayor Bruce Knell told Cowboy State Daily there were a few complaints in his town, but not many.
"It was younger people being inconsiderate on them. Nothing major, like you would think. It seemed to go rather well," Knell said. "Anytime something new comes along and it creates any type of change, that tends to irritate people."
New Company Looking To Begin Renting Electric Scooters in Wyoming
It’s been two years since Bird Ride began operations in Wyoming, and they’ve since deployed hundreds of rentable electric scooters across Cheyenne, Laramie and Casper. Now competitor Lime is looking to get in on the action.
April 04, 20234 min read
The rentable electric scooters are coming.