John Vanlew, who works for a Bird scooter franchise in Elkhart, stands next to a line of Bird electric scooters on Friday. Staff photo by Jeff Parrott
John Vanlew, who works for a Bird scooter franchise in Elkhart, stands next to a line of Bird electric scooters on Friday. Staff photo by Jeff Parrott
SOUTH BEND — South Bend has reached a deal with shared mobility provider Bird to bring its electric scooters and bikes to the city.

The agreement, to be considered Tuesday by the city’s Board of Public Works, calls for the company to launch 50 to 75 scooters, a relatively small amount to start, by the end of the month, said Deputy Public Works Director Jitin Kain, who had worked since before the COVID-19 pandemic to find a bike and scooter vendor to replace Lime.

“It feels great,” Kain said. “We’ve been working to finalize this deal for a while now so I’m excited to be announcing this and I look forward to their launch.”

Bird will pay the city a $10,000 annual licensing fee, to cover the city’s costs for signage or possibly enforcement. The company will also begin with a “handful” of e-assist bikes, which have pedal-assisted electric motors.

In 2019, shortly after San Mateo, Calif.-based Lime withdrew its bikes and scooters from the city because the company was dropping bikes to focus only on scooters, Kain has said the city, wanting to continue offering both e-bikes and scooters, sent “requests for information” to three companies: the Uber-owned Jump, San Francisco-based Spin, and Charleston, S.C.-based Gotcha.

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