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Without Permit, Oklahoma City Plans To Impound Bird Electric Scooters

Kateleigh Mills / KOSU Radio
A dockless Bird scooter left on the sidewalk in Film Row off Sheridan and Shartel on August 14th, 2018.

The Oklahoma City Council approved an ordinance on Tuesday to impound the Bird electric scooters beginning Monday, August 20th,  if the company fails to file a revocable permit with the city. 

The rental service dropped off dozens of electric scooters in downtown OKC without notice two weeks ago. The scooters are being parked and rented on public right-of-ways, in violation of city ordinances.

Matt Ball, a spokesperson for Bird, attended Tuesday’s city council meeting. He says the company was willing to work with the city to get the permit needed and also work to create a more permanent solution for the scooters.

"We're currently in the process of resubmitting a revocable permit application for the public works director," Ball said. “We have been working with the city and have enjoyed those conversations and hope to be as collaborative as humanly possible going forward.”

However, Ward 2 councilman Ed Shadid told Ball he didn't think Bird was willing to work with the city.

"I think Bird deserves a public rebuke for these tactics," Shadid said. "I don't think [Bird] has been working with us, and [Bird] has a long track record of doing this to municipalities throughout the country."

Bird operates scooters in 29 other cities around the country, facing legal trouble in at least 3 of them.

OKC Mayor David Holt says city officials were working with other vendors to address the issue when Bird dropped off their scooters.

Holt expects the law to change, but says Bird should have acquired revocable permits to be able to place their scooters in public right-of-ways.

If Bird does not file for a revocable permit, the city also plans to charge to company $100 an hour for collecting the scooters and $5 per day, per scooter for storing them.

Watch the discussion of electric scooters below, beginning at the 1:27:49 mark:

?t=1h27m49s

Kateleigh Mills was the Special Projects reporter for KOSU from 2019 to 2024.
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