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Dec. 3, 2022

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E-scooter rentals not coming to Battle Ground

Provider Bird scaling back investments

By , Columbian staff writer

E-scooter rentals will not be coming to Battle Ground after all.

City officials were notified Tuesday that their agreement with e-scooter rental service Bird wouldn’t be moving forward.

The Battle Ground City Council had just voted to approve a memo of understanding with the e-scooter provider July 5. But because of the economy, Bird decided to scale back investments, affecting the agreement, according to a statement from the city of Battle Ground.

“Since this decision came so soon after the city council voted to move forward with the agreement, Bird has not started work on the infrastructure needed to implement their service,” read the statement. “As such, no additional city staff time or resources were devoted to this proposal.”

The city would have been the first in the county to offer “dockless” e-scooter rentals. Bird Scooters, unlike Vancouver’s Zoot Scoot rentals, wouldn’t need to be left in a certain place but instead could be left in a designated zone.

The memo of understanding was passed unanimously by the city council and the company had planned to bring 75 scooters to the city. Initial discussions on bringing Bird to Battle Ground started at the council’s April 18 meeting.

“We are committed to helping people replace car trips with eco-friendly and efficient trips powered by micromobility,” said a company spokesman in an email to The Columbian just one day before the city was notified the agreement wouldn’t be moving forward. “Battle Ground seemed like a natural place for us to partner with the city and its residents to help minimize use of cars and to help encourage a mode shift to transportation alternatives that have lower carbon emissions.”

Bird launched in 2017, operating in more than 400 cities worldwide. In June, however, the company laid off 23 percent of its workforce — about 400 employees — as part of cost-cutting measures. That same month, Bird Global Inc. was notified by the New York Stock Exchange that it was not in compliance with the exchange’s Listed Company Manual because the average closing price of the company’s Class A Common Stock was less than $1 over a consecutive 30-day trading period. BRDS stock closed at 46 cents July 15.