E-scooter rentals coming to downtown Xenia

Scooter riders pull up alongside two motorcyclists at the intersection of East Columbia and North Limestone Streets after Bird Ride electric scooters began operating in downtown Springfield in July. CONTRIBUTED/STEPHEN SHARP.

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Scooter riders pull up alongside two motorcyclists at the intersection of East Columbia and North Limestone Streets after Bird Ride electric scooters began operating in downtown Springfield in July. CONTRIBUTED/STEPHEN SHARP.

XENIA — Rental e-scooters may be popping up in downtown Xenia soon.

City council Thursday authorized an agreement with Los Angeles-based scooter rental company Bird to bring a fleet of “low speed micromobility devices” for use in the city and on local bike paths.

Scooters are expected to provide an “affordable, low-impact mobility option for residents and visitors,” and may provide a small economic boost to downtown and nearby business districts, according to city documents, as well as the city’s bike paths.

Bird is interested in expanding in the local area as it just opened up operations in Springfield, said City Planner Brian Forschner. The company was drawn to Xenia because of its extensive network of bike paths and its historic downtown.

“We are committed to helping people replace car trips with eco-friendly and efficient trips powered by micromobility,” a representative of Bird said via email. “Xenia 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.”

It’s unknown currently how many scooters will be available in the downtown area, Forschner said. A launch date has not yet been set.

Bird scooters can be accessed through a smartphone app. Costs for rides vary by location.

Bird’s Community Pricing Program offers a 50% discount to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans, and senior citizens.

Bird also offers two free 30-minute rides per day to healthcare workers and emergency personnel. Eligible riders will receive those free rides for “as long as it takes to help our communities to recover from this global health crisis,” per the company’s website.

Dayton, Kettering and Columbus are among local cities that allow shared mobility devices like e-scooters. Others, like Beavercreek, Centerville and Oakwood have banned them, citing “visual clutter” and safety concerns.

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