By Pepper Fisher
PORT ANGELES – You may have noticed by now that Bird e-Scooters have come to Port Angeles for a summer-long pilot program. The company deployed 75 scooters on Friday, May 26th, and it appears early on that the program does have some customers, though how many is unknown.
Here's how it works; Users download the Bird app on their phones and register with a credit or debit card. Company policy is that riders must be 18 years or older.
The app tells you where the nearest electric scooter is and unlocks the scooter's mechanism for a dollar. The rider simply squeezes one handle to go up to 15 mph, and squeezes the other handle to slow down and stop. Riders are charged 39 cents per minute with a $3.50 minimum, plus tax. When you’re done, you can leave their scooter almost anywhere, though rules on that may change as we move through the summer.
Last August, in anticipation of this pilot, the City Council voted to allow the operation of scooters on streets whose speed limits are above 30mph when there is a designated bicycle lane, which opens up streets that were previously off limits to scooters in Port Angeles.
City staff are working with the company to implement additional program details, including geofencing that will keep the scooters out of some areas of the city by shutting them down, and specified locations for pick-up. (More to come on that, as we’re waiting to hear back from staff with some specifics.)
Staff made a point to emphasize that this is a pilot program, saying the limited time period allows the City, its residents and visitors to assess the program's potential benefits and possible disadvantages. They said they welcome feedback on the program and will launch a community survey in late summer to assist in that effort.By Pepper Fisher