Travis VanderZanden, the founder and CEO of Bird, recently gave an interview explaining his vision for the future of his e-scooter sharing company. According to VanderZanden, the major focus for Bird in 2019 will be working more closely with local governments to better monitor e-scooter activity.
Apparently, the Bird team is already hard at work on what VanderZanden calls the “GovTech” platform. This new system is designed to streamline information from e-scooters directly into local government databases.
The “GovTech” platform will also use geo-speed and geo-fences to automatically lower e-scooters’ max speed depending on where a rider is traveling through. These hi-tech features will also make it impossible to operate e-scooters in districts that already have bans on these devices.
In addition to helping local governments, VanderZanden said his company is investing heavily in upgrading the e-scooter experience for customers. Bird recently announced a brand new custom-designed e-scooter known as the Bird Zero.
Unlike Bird’s current Xiaomi M365 e-scooter model, the Bird Zero is built with solid tires and has a 60 percent longer battery life. Bird Zero will also have a speedometer, a sturdier shaft, and unexposed brake cables.
If all goes according to plan, Bird Zero should be available in many American cities in 2019.
Another issue VanderZanden addressed in his interview was the importance of rider safety. VanderZanden said ensuring Bird users are safe on the roads has always been more important than the growth of his company.
Some of the ways Bird prioritizes safety include keeping their speed limit at 15 mph, requiring a driver’s license to operate e-scooters, and always collecting Bird e-scooters at 9PM. Bird also offers to ship helmets free of charge to all of its customers.
Looking back on his company’s first year, VanderZanden is proud to now have Bird e-scooters in 100 cities around the world. Since Bird is now established in so many places, VanderZanden believes Bird has a great advantage over companies like Uber and Lyft that are now trying to enter the e-scooter market.
In the near future, VanderZanden wants to get his e-scooters into New York City as well as many big cities in Europe. Although VanderZanden would like to bring Bird scooters into San Francisco, he admits that it’s not on his priority list right now, probably because SF are currently only allowing Skip and Scoot Scooters.