Now that bike share has come to Baton Rouge are scooters next?
Perhaps, says a spokesman for Bird Scooters, which began looking into the market last year after a brief foray into Lafayette but then put any potential plans on hold until after the 2019 legislative session.
With the session now over and a new state law in effect legalizing electric scooters—unless a parish or local government prohibits them within its jurisdiction—Bird says it is again eyeing Baton Rouge and other south Louisiana markets.
“Bird has long been interested in bringing our low-cost, environmentally-friendly service to Baton Rouge,” says Mackenzie Long, a Bird spokesperson. “We hope to soon have the opportunity to do so, and we look forward to future discussions with local leaders about the inherent benefits of having Bird in town.”
It likely won’t be any time too soon, however, as the city-parish has yet to set the parameters for scooter usage in Baton Rouge. Fred Raiford, director of transportation and drainage, says he has talked to representatives from Bird as well as from other scooter companies that would like to enter the market but says it’s not a high priority of the administration.
“We are meeting to discuss what changes we may need to make to our local ordinances to allow this,” he says.
Baton Rouge is an attractive market for scooter companies because of its mild winters, which allow for nearly year-round use, and also because of the presence of two large universities.
Advocates of dockless, electric scooter programs also say they’re more cost effective than bike share programs because they don’t require docking stations. They also get far more usage than do bikes—10 times as many rides per scooter as a bike—so do not require any investment or subsidy from the local government.