Electric scooters could be coming to downtown Exeter, NH

EXETER – The city is considering a proposal to bring electric scooters for hire to Exeter.

Birda micromobility company based in Santa Monica, Calif., recently reached out to Exeter City Manager Russ Dean about the idea.

Bird offers to provide a fleet of electric scooters, or “e-scooters”, which can be hired on a run at no cost to the city.

Similar to Boston blue bikes, riders over 18 can rent the scooters with one click on the Bird app using a smartphone. The base rate is $1, then the price varies between 10 and 39 cents per minute for usage.

Each scooter comes equipped with a QR code that users can scan and pay for before starting their ride, all within the app. The app includes tutorials and a real-time map alerting users to the nearest available scooters and where users can park at the end of their trip.

Driving a Bird scooter is similar to a normal scooter.

Users begin their ride simply by kicking forward to gain momentum. From there they can use the thumb throttle on the scooter’s handle to control their speed which reaches up to 18 miles per hour. To stop, users apply the brake on the handle.

Like cyclists, scooter users are required to obey all local traffic rules and ride them on streets and/or approved cycle paths. Although helmets are not included, Bird encourages riders to wear helmets while riding.

After:Exeter’s First Baptist Church condo project will build on the city’s car parks. Here are the details.

Why External?

Founded in 2017, Bird aims to replace short gas-powered car trips with a more environmentally friendly and sustainable approach. The company focuses on electric bicycles and scooters and has a presence in more than 60 cities nationwide.

In the Granite State, the company’s scooters are available for use in both Nashua and Manchester, and they are looking to expand their footprint in the state.

“Bird hopes to bring our environmentally friendly electric scooter program to Exeter,” a Bird spokesperson said. “As tourism picks up, expanding into Exeter – with its historic and bustling city center – would be a natural fit.”

Similar to Manchester and Nashua, the company will operate its electric scooters under its fleet manager scheme, increasing employment opportunities for the city. With only three qualifications required – access to a warehouse, a large vehicle to transport the scooters, and experience running a business – fleet managers are responsible for moving scooters, performing maintenance and cleaning.

“The Community Effort”:Logging companies volunteer to spruce up Swasey Parkway on Arbor Day

Exeter officials open to idea

Renay Allen, Member of the City Council Energy Committee, said the Bird scooters would complement the city’s lacking transportation infrastructure. She said having scooters would benefit train riders and tourists, providing easy access to the city centre.

“The streets are already congested (with cars), so someone who lives a little further out of town could get the scooter and it would save on parking,” Allen said. “They’re smaller, use less gas and lower emissions, so that’s always a positive thing.”

Bird's electric scooter is currently available in Manchester and Nashua.

Police Chief Stephan Poulin said having scooters would be a “great opportunity” for people to get around downtown. His main public safety concerns would be that cyclists should obey the same rules as cyclists.

“With anything new (in a city), people really have to be careful when they’re on it,” Poulin said. “When something new like this comes to town, it’s just going to be a learning curve to get used to.”

The city board declined to comment until the proposal reached council level.

If the proposal were to be accepted by the municipality, Bird plans to supply between 50 and 75 electric scooters at launch, with the possibility of increasing the number.

“We would be happy to partner with the city and its residents to help minimize car use and encourage a mode shift to lower-carbon transportation alternatives,” a Bird spokesperson said.

David H. Henry