by TJ AndersonThis prediction from Dwell magazine, from late last year, just made its way into my Facebook feed: “Step Aside, Subway Tile — Penny Tile Is the New Classic.” Penny tile,
Getting Around Nashville With Bird Scooters
by TJ Anderson
Here in Nashville, we obviously still have some distance to cover in figuring out how to combat traffic and broaden our transit options. But we’ve had some improvements from both the private and public sector, from new pedestrian bridges designed to make the city more walkable to expanded bike-sharing options.
Another new addition that seems like it might have local traffic-diminishing potential: Bird, a scooter-sharing startup that’s been setting up in various cities on the coasts, plus the similarly music-rich, landlocked city of Austin, and now, Nashville.
How Bird scooters work
The company is billed as something akin to the Lyft or Uber of motorized scooters (just minus having someone else drive). Bird’s positioned 100 of its scooters in more pedestrian-friendly corners of Nashville, from downtown to Germantown, Music Row and East Nashville; users can pull up the Bird app to search for a nearby scooter, pick out/rent it with that app, and get going.
When you’ve done your wandering, you can leave your Bird where you are (preferably near a bike rack, if one’s available), to be picked up that night by Bird chargers who collect and re-energize the scooters for the next day’s use.
How Birds stack up in the two-wheeled transit world
Bird’s two-wheeled transit options rev up to 15 miles an hour, so you won’t be getting anywhere quite as quickly as you would in a car, but it’ll definitely move you more quickly (and with less effort) than hoofing it. (To be fair, since you’re not fighting traffic, it actually might save you time, especially if you’re trying to cut across downtown.)
Bird rentals are pretty easy on the budget, too: Rentals start at $1 a trip, and you tack on 15 cents each minute that you continue to ride. Rentable B-cycle bikes are pretty comparable, depending on what your trip looks like: They run $5 per 24-hour membership, plus $1.50 each 30 minutes after the first hour.
The Bird drop-off process — which can essentially be anywhere — gives Bird a leg up on B-cycle, which requires you to re-park your rented bike in one of their 33 stations. (They’re all over neighborhoods close to downtown Nashville, from Sylvan Park to Lockeland Springs, but there’s still the chance you’ll have to add a Point C to end your trip with a bike rental.)
Depending on perspective, the motorization might be a plus or a minus — a bike ride injects some exercise into your trip, which you’ll lose out on with an electric scooter. But if you’re worried about showing up to lunch sweaty, a Bird might be your better option.
Bringing sharing-economy jobs and supporting infrastructure
If you’ve been paying your bills with a mix of sharing-economy jobs — driving for Lyft, delivering food for DoorDash — Bird might catch your attention too, since they’re hiring “Chargers” here in Nashville. Bird.co says it’s about as hard as charging a smartphone, and that picking up and charging scooters can net you as much as $20 per.
Another beneficial extra: The company’s pledged to share $1 per vehicle per day with city governments where they operate, with the intention of contributing toward more bike lanes and helping to maintain local infrastructure. Those are both things Nashville will surely benefit from, so thumbs up to Bird for baking that into their business plan.
Does electric-scooter sharing sound like something you’ll take advantage of in Nashville? Biking or walking more your style? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a place to park long-term in Middle Tennessee, let me know if I can help — I’d love to help you find a home that fits your wish list. Check out some Nashville homes on the market now here, and call or email TJ Anderson Homes for more.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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