SOMERVILLE (CBS/AP) – Three New England cities are figuring out how to respond after a California company left dozens of electric rental scooters on public sidewalks without warning.
The scooters appeared Friday morning in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts cities of Cambridge and Somerville.
The company that operates the scooters, Los Angeles-based Bird Rides, Inc., didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday.
It’s one of several companies competing to expand services for “dockless” scooters or bicycles that can be rented using a smartphone app and left almost anywhere. Some cities have sought to regulate them over safety and nuisance concerns.
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A spokesperson for the city of Somerville says no agreement is in place with the company and they were not aware of Friday’s roll-out. But that’s not stopping people from taking off down the streets.
Bird says the purpose is to help people on short journeys or that last mile.
“Well if something is in walking distance but you’re feeling especially lazy for whatever reason I mean this is a pretty good alternative,” said Harvard student Miles Toussaint.
To use the scooters, you open up the app, and then you scan the QR code. To ride one you have to be over 18 years old. You’re not supposed to ride on the sidewalk and you’re also supposed to wear a helmet.
There are some concerns, from even people who enjoy riding. “Yea I wouldn’t want them on my sidewalk, that type of thin,g I don’t know where they’re going to be kept,” said Somerville resident Tony Dopazo.
The company says the scooters get picked up and charged overnight.
A spokesman for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says officials found out about the scooters when they appeared outside City Hall before dawn Friday. The city is now in talks with the company.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)