Birds Flocked to Bridgeport
The type of birds that you normally find in nests around Bridgeport are winged creatures such as Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals and wild green Monk Parakeets (lots of them). But the Bird that arrived on the University of Bridgeport’s campus at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, sported two rubber wheels and can help you easily move around campus.
The chirp around campus is that the students, faculty, and staff are excited to have a new mode of transportation at their fingertips. Approximately 75 Birds took flight in Bridgeport on Nov. 8, which began a University pilot program. The Birds, unassuming transporters, are black and white with BIRD written vertically down the front. They have landed from Paris to Tel Aviv, the U.S. and beyond. The University was the first in Connecticut to have the electric-powered dockless Bird scooters on its campus.
“Bird provides a fun and environmentally friendly way to get around campus and make for a quick jaunt to Seaside Park,” said Laura Trombley, president of the University of Bridgeport.
How does this Bird transport concept work? Download and sign up in the Bird app. Riders will link their license and a way to pay. To get started, riders can find an available vehicle on the in-app map, scan the device and away you go. The dockless vehicles can be picked up and safely parked out of the way of public pathways and at bike racks where available.
In the evening, the Birds are picked up by contracted workers called Chargers who do exactly what their name suggests: gather the Birds and charge the batteries. Birds are collected each evening by 9 p.m. and redistributed by Chargers to their designated “nests” the following morning. The cost to activate the Bird is $1, and the fee per minute is 20 cents.
“The University of Bridgeport wants to provide its students with a smart transportation option that curbs traffic and reduces climate emissions, and that’s what Birds can do. We look forward to helping UB students get where they need to go quickly and easily,” said Stephen Schnell, the chief operating officer at Bird.
Safety first. The launch was a safety event where safety cards were distributed, free helmets were doled out and the Bird team demonstrated safe riding.
George Estrada, vice president for facilities at the University, said, “The addition of the Birds on campus represents an expansion of our transportation network. Currently, we have university shuttles, city buses, and Zipcars.”
Approximately 12-15 Bird “nests” were placed across campus in strategic places. Each Bird nest holds five to seven mobile units.
The Birds also are available for use by the Greater Bridgeport community.