St. Louis putting the brakes on motorized scooter rental company

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ST. LOUIS – “A phone call would’ve gone a long way at this point to welcome to town,” St. Louis City Traffic Commissioner Deanna Venker said.

The motorized scooters are called BIRD and Thursday morning they started popping up across downtown St. Louis.

The company promotes the scooters as perfect for last minute trips that are too long to walk, but too short to drive.

However, the city permit must’ve been too much of a hassle, because Venker says the company didn’t fill one out.

“We have reached out to Bird to step back a little here,” she said. “Let’s get on the same page and get a permit filled out and make sure all those requirements are met.”

Until that happens, the commissioner has asked the company to pick the scooters up by the end of the day.

In a statement, the company says,

“In partnership with the City of St. Louis, we have agreed to remove all Birds from the city until scooters are added to the city’s dockless vehicle program next week. We are in close communication with local officials and are working together on our permit application, and we look forward to relaunching in St. Louis next week.”

And just like that, the bikes were collected and tolled away.

“It’s unfortunate because even when you do a project of any sort or size,” Venker said. “You want to have some sort of communication with the people you’re affecting.”

But that removal happened not before Zach Shaw could snatch one up and find out about all the hype.

“They’re really fun actually,” Shaw said. “The first one I tried I picked up right outside the brewhouse and there was no brake on it. At first, it wasn’t good because I started going down Clark and I said I have no brake.”

Eventually, Shaw found a safe scooter to get a cool breeze on downtown streets.

Though his adventures may have been fun, the rider says he doesn’t agree with how the company decided to launch.

“It is kind of disrespectful the way they’ve been treating a lot of cities they operate in,” Shaw said. “So definitely going forward, don’t just dump these in every city. Make sure you get your permit.”

But while he can, Shaw plans to ride out until Bird and St. Louis city figures out an agreement.

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