Bird Scooters Flying High and Low

Are the ride-share devices useful to high school students?

By Austin Hunn, Current Staff

Mysterious scooters have started to appear all over West Bend.

The first wave of 75 electric scooters was introduced to the city on Sept. 15 thanks to a partnership between the micromobility company Bird Rides and the city of West Bend to provide efficient, affordable transportation. The ride-share scooters can be rented and left at any destination. Now that the scooters have populated the city, students at the West Bend High Schools have developed mixed thoughts about them.

Although they provide an easy source of transportation, many students have found the scooters to be quite controversial, considering the costly price of the ride.

Matthias Baars, a West junior, believes the scooters are helpful to some people and their presence really improves the sense of development in West Bend, but he would never ride one.

“Personally I wouldn’t pay for one,” Baars said. “But they’re good for getting around West Bend, so I can’t say that they’re a bad idea.”

The standard price for a Bird scooter ride in West Bend is $1 to start the electric scooter, and an additional 45 cents per minute of riding. The price has dissuaded several individuals including Baars from riding the scooters, but Bird argues their prices are fair considering several circumstances.

Bird prices the scooters rides differently according to the demographics of the city they are partnered with. In Miami, Florida, the scooters cost $1 per minute to operate, which is over twice the riding cost in West Bend. Bird also offers discounts on scooter rides to low-income families and city employees.

The majority of students have never used the scooters, but many have had problems interacting with them. There has consistently been a noticeable number of scooters near the West parking lot at the high school, and they have also been left in several inconvenient spots throughout West Bend.

Alex Wolf, a West junior, has a strong distaste for the scooters and believes they will lead to a lot of injuries. 

“I think it is a safety hazard,” Wolf said. “During the homecoming parade I was in, I had this big bass drum on and couldn’t see the scooter in front of me. I ended up tripping on the scooter and I nearly fell with the drum.”

Ethan Buss, an East junior, believes the scooters were a great addition to the city, but have noticed that most remain unused.

“Some people use them, but for the most part I just see them lying around,” Buss said. 

This can be worrisome for those who appreciate the scooters, considering that Bird’s most durable scooters are expected to last 18 months. If most remained barely used during this period, there would not be much reason for Bird, a for-profit business currently in free fall, to resupply West Bend with scooters that will break down before returning a profit.

East junior Jonathan Habash has used the scooters frequently, and is surprised that more people aren’t using them.

“It’s an exciting and thrilling journey from departure to destination,” Habash said. “Besides being kind of a joke to ride them, they can be pretty useful.”

(Top image: Bird electric scooters in Lisbon on August 7, 2020. Photo by Captain Raju and used with permission via Wikimedia Commons.)

1 Comment

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One response to “Bird Scooters Flying High and Low

  1. shan4606

    I see these scooters dumped all over West Bend , sometimes for days. I do not think they are a great idea, especially when people are not being responsible with them.

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