Bird, the electric scooter rental unicorn and Plexal member, has officially arrived in Britain. The startup today launches a new trial in east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will allow people to rent and unlock its scooters (using Bird’s app) from 7am until 9pm and ride them between Stratford and Here East. It’s hoping the trial will demonstrate the benefits of Bird’s mobility solution to regulators and lead to wider adoption in the UK.
Bird’s electric scooters work in a similar way to dockless bikes: you unlock a scooter with an app, stick on a helmet and ride off. When you’re done, you can park the scooter anywhere and lock it on the app. Bird believes its scooters make transport more environmentally friendly and fun as well as solving the last mile and first mile problem for commuters.
The startup, which first took off across the pond and reached unicorn status in record time, has recently launched in Paris (where 50,000 people have used Bird’s scooters already), Brussels, Vienna, Antwerp and Zurich as part of a European expansion.
The ride hasn’t always been smooth, though: Bird has the subject of some controversy, with city officials in the Santa Monica attempting to clamp down on scooter companies. However, it’s learned its lesson. Bird shares safety advice and encourages users to stick to cycle lanes and only ride on pavements if the law allows it. It’s also put steps in place to avoid the bikes being abandoned and to incentivise people to bring them to a charging point.
Commenting on Bird’s first UK trial, managing director Andrew Roughan said:
“We’re delighted that our member Bird has chosen London, and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to launch in the UK. Plexal – and the wider Here East campus – is emerging as the place to be if you’re innovating in the transport and mobility space. Bird represents what Plexal champions: bold, innovative thinking that aims to solve some of our biggest urban challenges and improve people’s travel experiences. We look forward to seeing the results of their first pilot and going on this journey with them.”
We can’t wait to see the impact Bird’s scooters have on how we move around the park – and hopefully the trial will lead to a wider UK push.