Jamestown has received no indication that an electric scooter company the city began partnering with last fall would suspend operations locally after its parent company recently filed for bankruptcy protection.
Stephen Neilans, the city's communications coordinator, said last week that the city was still gathering information from its contacts in Bird.
According to the Associated Press, Miami-based Bird Global has lost more than $430 million since the end of 2021. Bird had secured $25 million in financing from MidCap Financial, a division of Apollo Global Management, as she attempts to reorganize herself within the framework of the Chapter. 11 bankruptcy protection in Florida.
Bird's popularity in Jamestown was evident by his brief use last fall.
Over a 58-day period beginning in September, 771 unique users traveled a total of 6,000 miles on one of Bird Bikeshare's electric bikes or scooters available for rental throughout the city. The average trip was about 1.4 miles and took 13 minutes.
Under the pilot agreement between the city and Bird, Jamestown received a flat 20 percent share of each rental. In the two months the bikes and scooters were available, there were 4,600 rentals, averaging about 80 per day.
Many users who started in the same location and then returned to the same location were from SUNY Jamestown Community College.
Former city councilor Marie Carrubba, who is also a member of the college's board of trustees, was surprised by this information. “I did not think about it” Carrubba said at a city council meeting last month where the use of scooters was discussed. “But because there aren't a lot of buses that run between colleges, one of the complaints is that, especially if someone lives in the dorms, they don't have access to transportation. I never thought of it as a travel vehicle.
In an Associated Press report, Michael Washinushi, Bird's interim CEO, predicted that the company would be able to rebound and continue growing. “mission to make cities more livable” by providing vehicles that do not clutter the roads and do not burn fuel. But investors seemed doubtful as Bird's stock lost nearly 80% of its remaining value on Dec. 20 when it was announced that the bankruptcy filing would close at 8 cents per share, the AP reported.
Neilans said more information about Bird and its operations in the city will be released as it becomes available.
The project was first announced under former Mayor Eddie Sundquist; it is not yet clear whether the program will continue under the new administration.