I've noticed a few people lately commenting on Facebook about the new Bird E-Scooters that are now available for use around the City of Pittsfield. The comments that I am referring to look to be mostly from people concerned with where people are leaving them after use.

Where are people leaving them?

I saw one post just the other day from someone saying that someone had left one of the Bird E-Scooters in a residential neighborhood in front of their house. The main concern was that this was nowhere near the downtown area, and they wondered if someone would be collecting it at some point.

Another person commented that someone left a scooter near their house and they were worried that their children might try to use it and break it. Would they be responsible?

I took a look around...

I did in fact see one of the Bird E-Scooters in front of a residential home a day ago and just this morning (Monday 5/16), I saw one parked in front of the railroad overpass on West Housatonic Street. I first noticed it there at around 4:30 AM and it was still there when I checked again around 8:00 AM. It just seemed to me to be a really odd place to leave it.

 

I snapped a picture of that one...

 

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(Above: Bird E-Scooter parked in front of the railroad overpass on West Housatonic Street)

 

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I wanted to get some answers from someone in the know...

I checked in with Mayor Tyer's Office, and I was pointed to the city's Commissioner of Public Utilities, Ricardo Morales. So, I gave him a call. He was able to clear things up for me.

I mentioned to him that some people have complained on Facebook about where the scooters are being left. He explained to me that the scooters are dockless, so if you see one of them in a particular location, it is because whoever used it arrived there and then walked from there to their final destination.

The only rule in terms of parking them, according to Morales, is that you have to leave them standing upright in a secure location that is not blocking a sidewalk or obstructing traffic.

I asked Commissioner Morales if someone comes around to collect scooters that people leave behind... Here's a summary of what he told me:

All the scooters are tracked by GPS and when you unlock one (with the available app), you can see where all the other scooters are located. The company (Bird) knows where all the scooters are at any given time and two "fleet managers" rebalance and move scooters around to different places for a variety of reasons. One is that they need to be recharged... and at some point, they move them to areas where they expect them to see more usage. 

Morales went on to say that the city has received calls about people "abandoning" scooters, but he assured me, that is what the system is built for. Someone leaves it when they are done with it, wherever they are so that someone else can take it.

In summary...

You can leave the scooters pretty much anywhere, for someone else to use, as long as they are not obstructing a sidewalk or traffic, or for them to be picked up at some point by one of the fleet managers to be recharged or relocated.

So if you see one in a residential neighborhood or in some odd location (like near a railroad overpass), you don't need to be concerned. The system is working as it was intended.

 

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