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Unlike other cities, KC isn't asking Bird to fly the coop

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 20:02:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's a new mode of transportation so popular it's becoming a verb.

"Usually like me and my buddies will be like hey, wanna go bird?" Daniel Kabouni, who was perched on a Bird scooter near 11th and Main, said. 

Kabouni, who lives in Los Angeles, was surprised to see the scooters in Kansas City. LA is home to many of the videos featured on an Instagram account called Bird Graveyard, which documents the destruction of Bird and Lime scooters. 

There’s no love lost for the transportation in Milwaukee and Denver, where city leaders told Bird to fly the coop.

Kansas City is taking a different approach. Instead of serving the company with a cease and desist, city staff are working on an interim operating agreement. It will apply to Bird and similar companies that may come to town.

"Ideally we want to work with businesses from the front end. I mean we wouldn't argue with that, but we also want to be flexible," KCMO Public Works Spokesperson Beth Breitenstein explained.

The interim agreement will address rider and parking regulations, equipment maintenance and a potential fee structure for the city. 

The city will also work with Bird to roll out more scooters.

Complaints surfaced on social media about Birds with no charge being left all over town.

People can sign up to charge the scooters overnight, earning $5 a Bird. However, they can only pick up the scooters after 9 p.m. and must return them to designated "nests" across the city before 7 a.m. the next day. 

Two chargers told 41 Action News more scooters and more chargers could alleviate some of the demand issues in Kansas City. 

"There's not a whole lot of them, especially in the new cities," Kabouni observed.

Once the interim operating agreement is finalized, the city will start a 12-18 month pilot program to study issues and consider changes to ordinances. 

We reached out to Bird multiple times for this story, but we never received a statement from the company.