People took more than a quarter of a million rides on the Bird and Lime scooters in the first month and a half of Baltimore’s pilot program, and between 800 and 1,400 scooters are on the streets each day, according to the city Department of Transportation.
But the city, which touted agreements requiring Bird and Lime to distribute the scooters throughout the city, doesn’t know whether the companies are placing the requisite number of scooters in low-income neighborhoods. Or how many have been stolen, crashed or vandalized.
Instead of submitting comprehensive weekly reports to the city transportation department, as required in the agreements, Bird and Lime gave city officials access to their online dashboards and offered only piecemeal information on many of the items they are required to report, said Matt Warfield, the city planner overseeing the program.
“We provided them with a report template,” Warfield said. “They have not filled in the reports.”
Bird spokeswoman Rachel Katz said in a statement the company has, in fact, been sharing all the required data through its Flight Control Dashboard, “which makes it easy for cities to receive and review shared data.”
"Cities are our number-one customers, which is why we have been working closely with Baltimore officials as part of their pilot program,” the statement said. “We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Baltimore leaders as we offer its residents and visitors our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option."
Lime is “working with city leaders to better understand how to best deliver the requested data,” spokesman Scott Mullhauser said.
"Lime is dedicated to responsibly sharing data with cities and does so with every city in which it operates,” Mullhauser said in an emailed statement.
City Department of Transportation officials presented limited information on the scooter program Tuesday morning during a presentation to Baltimore Transit Choices, a coalition of transit supporters including businesses, universities, environmental and community groups, and others.
The DOT presented the following data, combining information from both companies:
» 250,544 total rides
» 84,266 unique rides
» 324,534 total miles ridden
» 800-1400 scooters on the streets
German Vigil, a department spokesman, declined to provide a breakdown of each vendor’s reporting, citing confidentiality concerns.
City Solicitor Andre M. Davis said the city signed no confidentiality agreement with the companies. But the city Law Department is conducting a review of the available information, Vigil said, to determine what might be categorized as commercially confidential.
Each scooter is being ridden between three and eight times per day, Warfield said, an indication that appetite exists for the scooters in the city. He described the relationship between the city and the scooter vendors as “positive — other than needing to work out the concern around getting the data to us.”
City officials expect to bring up the issue during a call with the companies Wednesday, he said.
The pilot agreements with Bird and Lime require the companies to provide weekly reports with the following:
» the number of scooters in service
» the number of rides
» “anonymized origin/destination data in map form” (Bird stipulated in its agreement that this would remain confidential)
» a point-map of the scooters’ location one day and one night each week
» any scooter crashes
» any requests to rebalance the fleet by customers or the Department of Transportation
» a summary of any incidents of theft or vandalism, “and the information needed to access any police reports filed in the past week”
» daily average location of the scooters
Aside from stipulating that Bird’s origin/destination map would remain private, the city’s agreement with the companies did not label any of the other items as confidential.