A proposal to allow a scooter company to do business in Pine Bluff will now head to the Pine Bluff City Council after a committee gave it a thumbs-up.
The scooter company came before the Pine Bluff Public Works Committee, which voted unanimously to send the memorandum of understanding to the council. The MOU spells out the relationship between the electric scooter company Bird and the city of Pine Bluff.
Local business Skood-addle, from the parent company Bird, presented a proposal to the Traffic & Aviation Committee earlier this month with an opportunity for these battery-powered scooters to make their mark in various locations in Pine Bluff, including downtown, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Southeast Arkansas College and Pine Bluff Regional Park.
Breonna Bishop of Skood-addle and her team were eager to bring the shared micromobility to Pine Bluff.
Bird representative Mike Butler said in as few as three to six weeks after signing the MOU, the scooters would be in use in Pine Bluff.
Butler said Bishop and her team approached their company with an interest in being Pine Bluff's local provider.
"What we did, we looked at the city of Pine Bluff, and it's suitable for this type of program and service," said Butler. "These are individuals that understand the lay of the land, know where people congregate and have a local presence. Having someone that is local goes so much further."
Butler said Skood-addle will manage the fleet of scooters, service them, charge them, repair them and make sure they are tidy, neat and ready for individuals to use.
Alexander mentioned the Main Street and Sixth Avenue Plaza as a good location for the scooter parking area.
No investment from the city is required.
"The only thing we need is the approval -- the mayor's signature on that document," said Butler.
Bird would pay for any permits needed. Council Member Joni Alexander said ordinances will need to be created.
In Little Rock, safety was a concern, and a scooter ordinance was drafted and approved in January addressing geographic restrictions for scooters based upon zoning.
The Little Rock ordinance also restricts riders to the street and says they must travel in a bicycle lane where one is available.
The ordinance does allow riders to travel on the sidewalk in certain areas approved by city officials where sidewalk-riding has been indicated with signs.
Riders 18 and up will be able to utilize these scooters through a mobile app, and Skood-addle and the city would receive a share of the revenue.