Later this summer, Battle Ground will join the very short list of Southwest Washington cities to offer e-scooter rentals and will be the first city in the county to allow “dockless” e-scooter rentals.

Unlike traditional bike and scooter rentals like Zoot Scoot in Vancouver, these e-scooters won’t have to be returned to a specific site, just left within a designated operating zone in the Clark County city.

The City Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Bird Rides at its July 5 meeting. The company, which is based out of Santa Monica, California, plans to launch with 75 scooters; 50 scooters will be out on the road and 25 scooters will be held in reserve.

With gas prices well above comfort level for most residents, the company is hopeful Battle Ground residents will explore the benefits e-scooters can offer.

“We are committed to helping people replace car trips with eco-friendly and efficient trips powered by micromobility. Battle Ground seemed like a natural place for us to partner with the city and its residents to help minimize use of cars and to help encourage a mode shift to transportation alternatives that have lower carbon emissions,” a Bird spokesperson said via email Monday.

The City Council first discussed the possibility of Bird Rides coming to Battle Ground at its April 18 meeting. Caroline Fraher, from Bird’s city partners team, said the goal is to get people where they want to go and where they need to go.

Advertising

Coming to Battle Ground before Vancouver may seem unusual to some, but Fraher said the city is right in line with its business model.

“We’re in cities both big and small. You may hear e-scooters and tend to think of large cities like San Francisco, L.A. or Portland, but the vast majority of the cities we work with are between 10,000, 20,000 and 40,000 people. Our bread and butter really tend to be markets of this size,” Fraher said.

Before voting on the agreement, Mayor Philip Johnson expressed some reservations with the program.

“I’m somewhat concerned that the city didn’t ask about just leaving them lay around on the sidewalks, those kinds of things,” Johnson said.