The California-based micro-mobility company, which operates shared electric scooters in over 100 cities worldwide, brought two of its new Bird Two electric shared scooters to the park, where passersby were able to try it out.
Sam Cooper, senior manager for government partnerships at Bird, said the event was to show residents how the company can help cities become carbon-free and provide alternative transportation in a “fun and easy way.”
“It’s the most sustainable scooter, and lasts the longest time out in the public right-of-way,” Cooper said, referring to the Bird Two. “It’s very smooth and stable ride for riders.”
The Bird Two is already available in several markets around the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Yonkers in Westchester County.
Last June, following New York’s legalization of electric bikes and scooters in the state, the City Council passed a series of bills legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters in the city. The legislation also instructed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a year-long shared e-scooter pilot program.
Cooper said the DOT is currently formulating a process on how to permit vendors, and Bird will follow that process to apply for permits.
“We think New York City is a fantastic place for e-scooters and alternative transportation,” he said. “We want to be the first-mile, last-mile connector and help people in transit deserts have another option to mass transit or get to where they need to go.”
Bird conducts community outreach in partnership with local organizations and elected officials, to help get the word out.
“We know we have a lot of challenges with climate change, so we want to be part of the solution,” Cooper said.
Councilman Costa Constantinides joined Cooper and the Bird team at Astoria Park last week for the demonstration. The Astoria lawmaker said he wants to help expand access to multi-modal transportation in the city.
“We have people that maybe feel uncomfortable getting on mass transit, though mass transit is safe,” he said. “We want to give them options.”
Electric scooters are a safe and healthy alternative that gets people out of cars, Constantinides said. They can also connect commuters to the subway, serving as a last-mile option.
“It’s always that last mile that’s the challenge,” he said. “You get off the subway and you hop on a scooter that can take you home.”
Constantinides, who is recovering from COVID-19, did not partake in the electric scooter demonstration, noting that his doctors would not approve of him riding anything yet. But he said he wants residents to take advantage of bikes, scooters, skateboards or “whatever works” to get around.
“Let’s make this as open as possible and allow for companies like Bird to have an opportunity to work here in New York City,” he said. “I’m excited about the possibilities of more transit options.”