Kansas City's Country Club Plaza Bans Popular Bird Scooters
Just over a week after Kansas City officials reached an agreement with California-based company Bird Rides Inc. to allow up to 500 of their dockless, motorized scooters on city streets, a popular retail district has banned them.
Bird officials confirm the Country Club Plaza is now a “no-ride zone.”
In an e-mailed statement, a Bird spokesperson tells KCUR that company officials are in touch with the city “and are working together to ensure Bird is operating in accordance with city guidelines.”
Plaza officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told the Kansas City Star in an e-mail that safety incidents “resulted in numerous customer and tenant complaints” and that they had asked the company to pause operations until it can further assess the matter.
Bird arrived in Kansas City with 100 scooters — and little notice — in July. The company operated the GPS-tracked scooters in Kansas City for weeks before agreeing to pay for a business license and cap the number of scooters at 500.
On August 1, the city authorized 250 additional scooters, bringing the total to 350.
City spokesman Chris Hernandez says the city is letting Bird and the Plaza work the matter on out their own and the city was not directly involved in the negotiations.
Kansas City has been more receptive to the dockless scooters than other cities. In July, Kansas City Councilwoman Jolie Justus said they could help reduce people's dependence on cars to move around the city.
"This isn't the exact answer to all of those problems, but this adds one more piece in the puzzle that helps us get around the city," Justus said.
Bird removed its scooters from Milwaukee this week after the city sued the company, alleging it was violating state law by renting its unregistered scooters. Other cities, including San Francisco, Austin and Denver, also temporarily banned Bird until they can work out a framework to allow the company to operate.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3.Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.