Raising Wilshire

A blog about parenting and car-lite living in Los Angeles

Bird Scooters allow me to get my child on time from daycare

This is part 1 of my multi-part series on how we’re making Car-Lite work in Santa Monica

On the go with Wilshire to work one morning

Over the past five months, I have been relying on Bird scooters to get from work to Wilshire’s daycare on time several times a week. Here’s why:

The cost is modest – about $2.35 per trip, or 65% less than what I had been paying for Lyfts. Their ubiquity meant that I only had to walk about a block or so to find a scooter. Especially now that the closest bus stop to catch the route which goes by Wilshire’s daycare is over 0.5 miles away, my bike and Bird Scooters have been my lifelines. When you have only 30 minutes to get someone on time, consistently, every single day, you start to think about what you can do to remain consistent.

Time works differently when you have a child. And my mobility needs have changed drastically since having Wilshire. I used to take transit all the time. I still take transit, but not when I need to get Wilshire. 

Then Bird came along. Bird made it possible for me to ride transit in the morning, which is important to me professionally.

So while I congratulate our Council for approving the pilot, I would also implore the City not to stop at simply regulating the scooters. This is an important opportunity for planners and advocates to challenge start-ups to tackle the mobility challenges faced by women, particularly women who are trip chaining with young children. We haul around people and stuff. The ‘disruptive’ mobility startups do not allow us to accomplish either. The Bird Scooter thing works fine for me – but only because we live close enough for our toddler to walk home. This doesn’t work for any other family at our daycare.

And as it stands, from time to time, I see parents with their kids on Birds. Totally against the law. But why are they doing it? It’s because the Birds’ convenience meets an unmet need. And people are willing to pay.

The opportunities here, I tell you.

Until next time,

Sirinya

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2 Comments

  1. My issue with Bird scooters (and Lime? Lyme? the other company I’ve seen) isn’t with the scooters themselves, it’s with many of the riders. I think there needs to be a much more robust education campaign about how to use them safely, and where it is and is not permissible to ride them.

  2. sirinya

    I completely agree with you. What I think will do Bird (and Lime) in isn’t regulations, it’ll be asshole customers. Bird doesn’t have a way of weeding out people who ride like they don’t care about anyone else, or park their scooters irresponsibly. At least Uber and Lyft could weed out obnoxious customers through the app rating system.

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