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Santa Monica Grounds 250 Bird Scooters Amid Complaints, Inaccurate Data
By Jorge Casuso
July 16, 2019 -- The City of Santa Monica has reduced the number of e-scooters Bird can operate in its home city from 750 to 500 amid continued complaints and data "anomalies," according to a memorandum from the planning department released Monday.
The City also increased the number of e-scooters Lyft can operate from 250 to 750 and increased Jump's e-bike fleet from 500 to 750, according to two other memos released Monday.
The adjustments increase the number of e-scooters and e-bikes allowed under the City's Shared Mobility Pilot Program launched last September from 2,500 to 3,000 ("Santa Monica Launches Pilot Program for Electric Scooters, Bicycles," June 13, 2018).
Bird, planning officials said, has been the subject of continued complaints about improper deployment of the devices, response time and maintenance.
"The City continues to receive a higher number of complaints and observed issues with Bird’s operations relative to the other operators," planning officials wrote in the memorandum.
"Most significantly," officials said, the company failed to provide the City with accurate information it uses to "regulate, enforce, and evaluate operators’ compliance with program regulations."
The data provided by the company using the Application Programming Interface (API) required under the pilot program contains "anomalies," planning officials said.
"The City has observed consistent anomalies unique to Bird’s data feed that result in a lack of data accuracy and reliability and are inconsistent with the Administrative Regulations," the memo said.
The data include deployment, daily available device caps, ridership and prohibited zones, officials said.
Bird has seven days to "address the issues with its data feed," before the City reviews the data "for accuracy and reliability and consistency with MDS," the City of Los Angeles Mobility Data Specification (MDS).
"Following the review, the City will make a determination about Bird’s future participation in the Pilot Program," the memo said.
Bird did not return a request for comment by deadline.
Bird was chosen to participate after the Santa Monica-based company, along with Lime, was initially shunned by a special City committee composed of officials from different departments.
The committee failed to recommend the two operators after police officials and members of the public expressed concerns about licensing, various illegalities and safety.
Bird and Lime flipped the off switch for e-scooters for a day in retaliation, staging a rally at the steps of City Hall to protest the committee's recommendation to award the contracts to Lyft and Jump ("Two Major Scooter Companies Rally Supporters After Snub From Santa Monica City Officials," August 14, 2018)
Two weeks after the committee's recommendation, City Planning Director David Martin selected Bird and Lime to participate in the 16-month program ("Bird, Lime Named Among Companies Allowed to Rent E-Scooters in Santa Monica Pilot Program," August 30, 2018).
Since the program was launched on September 17, some 1.5 million trips have been taken on shared mobility devices, according to the City.
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