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Bird Scooter Cost: Pricing, Fees, And More

Understanding Bird Scooter costs is crucial in today's urban transport landscape. This article compares its pricing with services like Lime and Uber, evaluating its value and affordability.

Key Takeaways

  • Bird charges a fixed fee to unlock a scooter, plus a per-minute fee for the ride.
  • Costs may vary based on location, time, and scooter model. Pricing may also be influenced by the scooter’s battery level and demand.
  • Use the Bird app to check prices and pay for rides seamlessly.
  • Be cautious of extra charges for parking in restricted areas or not ending the ride properly in the app.

How Does Bird Pricing Work?

Bird’s pricing model for their electric scooters is straightforward and consists of two primary charges: an unlocking fee and a per-minute rate.

The unlocking fee is generally under one dollar and is consistent across most cities. The per-minute rate, however, can vary depending on the city. Users should monitor their usage time to manage costs effectively.

In addition to these basic fees, there are penalties for violating the Bird User Agreement.

If a scooter is not returned within 48 hours, it’s considered lost or stolen, and the user may face a charge of up to $500, possibly accompanied by a police report. For scooters not returned after 24 hours but not considered lost or stolen, a $25 fee applies.

Another important fee is the pickup fee, which is assessed if a scooter is left on private property and a Bird employee needs to retrieve it. This fee can be as high as $120.

These additional fees serve to protect Bird’s assets and encourage users to follow basic rules: return scooters promptly, avoid damage, and park in accessible locations.

How Much Do Bird Scooters Cost?

The cost of using a Bird scooter involves a combination of an unlocking fee and a per-minute rate.

On average, a 15-minute ride on a Bird scooter typically costs around $3.25, including the unlocking fee. The average per-minute cost for riding a Bird scooter is 15 cents, but this rate can vary significantly depending on the location.

bird scooter price graphic

In some major cities, the per-minute cost can be more than double, while in other areas, it might be lower.

If you use a Bird scooter continuously for an hour at the average rate of 15 cents per minute and include the unlocking fee, the total cost would be approximately $10.

However, it’s important to note that Bird has adjusted their per-minute fees in some cities since the time of the original article.

Therefore, users are encouraged to check the current rates in their specific city for the most accurate pricing.

LocationPrice Per MinuteLocationPrice Per Minute
Abilene, TX$0.20Memphis, TN$0.20
Arlington, VA$0.15Minneapolis, MN$0.15
Athens, GA$0.15Norman, OK$0.15
Austin, TX$0.15Oakland, CA$0.15
Baltimore, MD$0.15Oklahoma City, OK$0.15
Chapel Hill, NC$0.20Portland, OR$0.15
Charlotte, NC$0.15Raleigh, NC$0.15
Cincinnati, OH$0.15Richmond, VA$0.15
Columbia, MO$0.20Salt Lake City, UT$0.15
Columbus, OH$0.15San Antonio, TX$0.15
Dallas, TX$0.15San Diego, CA$0.15
Denver, CO$0.15San Jose, CA$0.15
Detroit, MI$0.15Scottsdale, AZ$0.15
Fresno, CA$0.15Stillwater, OK$0.20
Greensboro, NC$0.15St Louis, MO$0.15
Kansas City, MO$0.15St Paul, MN$0.15
Louisville, KY$0.15Tempe, AZ$0.15
Long Beach, CA$0.15Tuscaloosa, AL$0.20
Los Angeles, CA$0.15Washington, DC$0.15
Data via Bird

Example Bird Scooter Prices

To get a better understanding of how Bird pricing works, here are a few examples of per-minute prices in some larger U.S. cities.

While the average tends to stay at 15 cents per minute in most areas, residents of bigger cities can expect some fluctuation here and there.

A Hypothetical Example of Bird Cost

Renters that need to travel four miles start their rental charge out at $1.

At ten mph, it will take about 24 minutes to cover those miles. That comes out to $3.60 when you multiply 24 minutes by the 15 cents per minute rate.

After you add in the base fare, your total trip comes to $4.60, which is less than the minimum Uber fare in most cities.

To give you a better idea of the pricing, here are some more examples:

  • 10 Minutes: $1.50 + $1.00 start fee = $2.50 total
  • 30 Minutes $4.50 + $1.00 start fee = $5.50 total
  • 1 Hour: $9.00 + $1.00 start fee = $10 total

Los Angeles, California Bird Scooter Price Example

In a big city like this, one can only expect that these scooter services are more popular and more accessible.

Unfortunately, that has resulted in a higher per-minute rate. For every minute you ride a Bird scooter in Los Angeles, California, you will need to pay 25 cents!

That will add up to 4 dollars and 75 cents for a 15 minute ride, or 16 dollars per hour. Compared to other forms of public transportation, though, that still isn’t too bad.

Denver, Colorado Bird Scooter Price Example

If you’re going to use Bird for a ride in Denver, Colorado, it has a cost fairly lower than Los Angeles.

Despite being a big city, the price of riding a Bird scooter in Denver usually stays at 15 cents per minute. This will add up to 3 dollars and 25 cents for a 15 minute ride, or 10 dollars per hour.

Price Increases For Bird Scooters

I have personally noticed that Bird scooter pricing has risen dramatically since I first tried one a few years back.

I was in Nashville earlier this year for a friend’s wedding, and I nearly fell over in shock due to how much my ride cost. For a simple 10 minute ride, my total bill was around $12.

When the Bird app was initially launched, their cost per minute was originally 15 cents regardless of location. As of recently, however, Bird has begun to increase the cost of their rentals.

This has mainly affected big cities like Austin, Texas or San Diego where scooter rentals are most popular. Rides in these cities can reach up to 33 cents per minute, nearly twice as much as the initial Bird scooter cost.

The reason behind these increases lies in two main factors; manufacturing costs and city fees.

Bird has been working to improve the models of the scooters to be much more durable and have a higher battery life. Many cities have also raised the fees of hosting their scooters in their towns. As a result, Bird has needed to raise their prices to compensate.

While the one dollar unlocking fee is usually static, there is one exception.

The city council of Raleigh, North Carolina enacted an ordinance that charges Bird more for the scooters they host in that town. As a result, you will have to pay two additional dollars upon renting a scooter in Raleigh.

This rise in Bird’s prices does not affect most cities, though. Smaller cities are more likely to have the expected 15 cent per minute fee. And even in cities with higher rates, the price of a Bird scooter can still be worth it.

That said, always do a cost comparison to see if Bird, another app like Lime, or even Uber is cheaper.

Bird Scooters Cost Comparison

Bird isn’t the only e-scooter app out there. How does it compare to other ride services regarding affordability and availability? Let’s look at the other options and find out.

vector graphic showing hand holding phone with a Lime Scooter price quote on the screen

1. Is Bird Cheaper Than Lime?

In most areas, the price of a Lime scooter is not much different from that of a Bird scooter. Both services average at around 15 cents per minute. However, the price of Bird scooters has gone up in bigger cities in the past couple years.

This difference is pretty small, and depending on where you live, it’s most likely not there at all. But it can quickly add up over time, so it is something to keep in mind.

2. Is Bird Cheaper Than Spin Scooters?

Just like Lime scooters, the pricing method for Spin scooters is roughly the same as Bird’s pricing.

If you live in a big city, there’s a bigger chance that your Bird scooter will be a bit more expensive than the Spin scooter option. But overall, that difference is rare and insignificant when it does come up.

3. Is Bird Cheaper Than Uber Ride Sharing?

The price per minute when compared to Uber Ride Sharing is roughly the same. It’s worthy of note, however, that an Uber can get you further in a shorter period of time than a Bird scooter will.

Uber rides can also come with a minimum fee of 4.85 regardless of how short the trip is. With Bird scooters, you only need to pay the 1 dollar unlocking fee and however many minutes you use.

So in a way, the price of an Uber can be cheaper over time.

But these two methods of transportation have their respective benefits, so that doesn’t mean you should always choose an Uber over a Bird.

What is Cheaper, Bird or UberX?

The best way to compare UberX and Bird is to look at the payment breakdown for UberX.

Currently, UberX passengers are charged a base fee, a per mile fee and a per minute fee.

If your total ride cost on Uber does not meet a minimum amount, you will be up-charged to match the minimum.

The amount Uber charges for the base fare, per mile fee and per minute fee varies by city.

So for the sake of an example, let’s look at the fees for the city of Chicago using the Uber Fare Calculator.

When you enter in Chicago in the city based prices, you’ll get these numbers:

  • BASE FARE: USD 1.79

Now that we have these numbers, let’s go back to the 4-mile trip example we used above.

Let’s also assume that a 4-mile Uber trip takes about 20 minutes (there’s a lot of traffic in Chi-town). Using these numbers, out broken out total will look like this:

  • Base Fare: $1.79
  • Price Per Minute: $0.21 x 20 minutes = $4.20
  • Price Per Mile: $1.00 x 4 miles = $4.00
  • Total: $9.99

Remember that our scooter ride only cost $4.60 to cover the same distance?

That means that taking a scooter would save you over $5 in this example.

There are other factors that you need to consider which can make Uber more affordable than a scooter.

Namely, the seating capacity.

An UberX can fit up to 4 passengers, meaning this same ride would be $2.50 per person if split evenly.

So if you have a group of people, it makes more financial sense to split an Uber.

Are Bird Scooters Worth The Cost?

Whether or not Bird scooters are worth the cost varies on your budget, the area you live in, whether you have a ride pass, and the other scooter apps available in your location, if any.

One benefit Bird has over other scooter sharing services is availability.

The Bird app is far more widespread than its competitors like Lime or Spin Scooters.

So even if the other two options are more affordable, you may have an easier time finding Bird scooters in your location.

If you have a ride pass, this can make a Bird scooter ride all the more worth it.

Even if your area has above-average rates, these passes can give you rides for free or at a reduced price.

Bird scooters also have unique benefits over Uber Rideshares.

They give you more control over your travels than an Uber would, and they also negate any anxiety you may have about climbing into a stranger’s car.

Most of all, riding a Bird scooter is simply more enjoyable than public transportation or bicycles.

Nothing compares to the fun of freely riding a scooter through the city streets.

Overall, if you live in an area where Bird scooters are more readily available, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

But if other services such as Lime are equally available and are cheaper in your location, it might be best to go with that instead.

Alternative: Buy A Bird Scooter

Do you enjoy the freedom of a Bird scooter, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of locating them or making constant payments?

Good news — there’s an alternative.

Does Bird Sell Their Scooters?

If you’re a big fan of Bird scooters, you can purchase one of your own.

That way, you can have the convenience of these e-scooters no matter where you are or having to deal with the per-minute rates.

To purchase a Bird scooter, you can check out the shop on their website.

They offer a wide selection of sizes, models, and colors.

You can buy a scooter for yourself, or even one for your kids!

How Much Do Bird Scooters Cost To Buy?

The price of Bird scooters varies depending on the model you purchase.

Their most expensive model is the Bird One scooter, which can reach over a thousand dollars.

On the other hand, their cheapest model is the Birdie — the model for kids — at a little over 100 dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few common questions people may have regarding Bird scooters.

How do Bird Scooter Payments Work?

Just like Uber and Lyft, all payments are handled through the Bird app. When you sign up for an account, you’ll need to enter your credit card information. After you complete a ride, that amount is withdrawn from your account.

Is Bird Scooter Profitable?

As of now, Bird Scooter has become profitable. Initially, they faced financial struggles, losing about $100 million and laying off employees, leading to increased ride prices.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic boosted their popularity due to the safety of scooters over crowded public transport, improving their financial outlook.

How Much Does a Bird Scooter Cost to Make?

The cost of manufacturing Bird scooters is rising due to improvements in quality and safety. Bird’s efforts to enhance durability and comply with safety regulations, following an increase in accidents, mean that the production costs for these e-scooters are expected to continue increasing.

Wrapping Up

We could compare Bird scooters with other modes of transportation until the cows come home, but one thing is clear: the scooters are a pretty good deal.

The prices of Bird scooters are generally not that much different from that of other e-scooter companies.

But as of recently, there have been some price fluctuations in bigger cities.

Whether or not renting a Bird scooter will be worth your money can vary depending on your location, budget, and how much you enjoy riding scooters.

A scooter can be a fun and convenient way to get around town, but overall, you won’t want to rely on it as your main source of public transportation.

To get the most of your Bird scooter experience, you can purchase monthly plans to get a slightly better deal on your rides.

And of course, try out and compare other scooter rentals in your area if they are available.

This way, you can decide for yourself whether Bird scooters are the right option for you!

What do you think? Are scooters a viable mode of transportation in your area?

4 thoughts on “Bird Scooter Cost: Pricing, Fees, And More”

  1. As of May 2022, rides are 42¢/min in Long Beach, CA, +$1 start fee, +10.25% sales tax, +15¢ city fee. There’s also a $3.50 minimum for minutes+start fee. Therefore a ride of 0-6 minutes is about $4, then about 50¢ a minute thereafter. BUT check this out: They have a new thing where for $7 per month, the first 5 minutes are free. That includes taxes, fees, everything. It’s like you’re not on the scooter for the first 5 minutes. My first two trips were $0. What I don’t know yet is if it suddenly jumps up to $4 at minute-6.

  2. I recently (May 7th) was in San Jose CA for business. Bird charged me 48 cents per minute. With the city tax and the activation fee my total cost for using Bird was WAY more than what I expected. Total bill for scooting off to the market and back, 18+ dollars.

  3. I used a scooter for the first time and assuming it was a dollar to unlock it ended up being 63 cents a minute in bozeman Montana.

  4. Current pricing in Redwood City, CA is $3.50 minimum, $1 unlock + $0.49/minute. This is the only website I found listing any per-city fees, thanks for having that, but they seem very out of date. Can you make an updated table?


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