Updated: Feb 28, 2020
What an amazing 4th of July weekend this past weekend in downtown Indy. The weather was hot and everybody was out and about. It was my wife and I's 10th anniversary weekend. We don't get out much and decided to keep it local to see what downtown had to offer. Our normal trips downtown usually involve eating dinner with our kids or going to Indians games. We never just freely browse around downtown so we decided to do just that.
Over the last few weeks, I kept hearing about these scooters and how the city is trying to regulate them, etc. I didn't really think anything of them until we got downtown Saturday afternoon. We saw scooters everywhere! I mean everywhere. If you weren't on a scooter, you almost looked out of place. We had no major plans on this hot afternoon, and we wanted to know how these Bird Scooters work?
I know how to operate electric scooters from riding my kids scooter around at home, but I didn't know where to begin with these. I pulled up their app from my phone and still couldn’t find many details here as to what to do.
As you are walking around downtown Indy, you will see scooters parked everywhere. Some in front of stores, some curbed on the sidewalk, and some next to bike racks. Are we able just to take these or where do we get them from? What do you do with them when you are done? We had so many questions.
Real footage of me after learning how to ride these scooters..... Not really but this is how I felt I looked when going up and down sidewalk ramps anyways :)
To save yourself some time, you should click here to download the Bird app before you go downtown. If you use my link, I believe you will get $5 in credits too!
When we got the app up and running, we had to go through a verification process first. This process had to verify you and your drivers license, and then you had to agree to a lot of things (for liability purposes). Once you get through that, you can enter in your payment info to be saved on the app. After you do that, you are ready to ride.
Here's how Bird Scooters work:
1) Pull up the app on your phone and on the home screen of the app will pull up a GPS map for you. This map will show you where you are at, and where the nearest scooter is to you. It will also show you how much battery percentage the scooter has left.
2) Once you find a scooter, go pick it up and push the ride button on your phone. This will pull up your camera on your phone and on the Bird Scooter there is a QR code for you to scan. After you get it scanned in, continue checking in on your phone. Once you are checked in, the timer will begin and then you're free to go.
3) Once you get to your destination, you can park your scooter in a safe place (sidewalk, curb, out of the way) and then end your trip from your phone. The app will keep track of how many minutes you rode the scooter for and will charge you accordingly. Here is a screen shot from one of my trips over the weekend.
And that's it! You can see their rates are pretty affordable. We rode almost 3 miles and it only cost $4.90. I was able to make it from Monument Circle, over to victory field, up to and around the Canal, and then back over to a Nada for Sunday brunch!
We got to see more of Downtown Indianapolis zipping around on a few scooters rides than we have in years of living here. We wouldn't have been able to cover that much ground in such little time on foot.
These scooters were great, but there were a few cons here as well.
Once you park your scooter and end your ride, you are done and anyone who wants your scooter can take it. So if you take it from the mall to Victory Field, chances of that scooter being outside after the game are very slim. That doesn't mean there wouldn't be another one nearby. Just be ready to have to go hunting for one after you stop.
The GPS wasn't always accurate. You would see a scooter nearby on your phone, but there would be no scooter in sight. I think some people were taking their scooters indoors with them so no one else would take them.
Sometimes the scooter would say it had 80% battery, and you would get to it, and the scooter wouldn't start up because the battery was dead.
If you are in groups, it can be hard to find multiple scooters at once. You will need to plan ahead for this. My wife and I found 1 scooter here and 1 scooter there. Gathering 2 scooters sometimes took more time than it would to just go and walk to where we needed to go (but what fun would that have been)?
Try to find free parking for your car near one of the scooters. You can plan your parking around where the scooters are located as opposed to just going to a paid parking lot.
It's cheaper to go explore on one long trip than going on multiple short trips because of the $1 fee to unlock the scooter.
I figured at $1 to unlock and 15 cents a minute, its about $10 an hour. That's and easy way to estimate how much your trip will cost you.
We carried ours down the stairs to the canal and rode around that pretty quickly. It's worth the trip for sure.
We had a blast buzzing around with the Birds! I am sure the city will get these regulated soon and there will be a better process for them. I think they will help the local businesses more because you are able to see more in less time. We went to stores and shops we had never seen before.
If you make the trip to downtown Indy soon, you have to check out these scooters. I promise you, you won't regret it!
Have any questions for me? Please feel free to ask below! For more information, check out their website here.