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Bird Scooter Cost: Pricing, Fees, and More

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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.

1. The Unlocking Fee

The first thing you’ll need to pay is the unlocking fee, which allows you to use the Bird Scooter.

In most cities, the unlocking fee is typically a dollar or less. This fee is always constant for each city, regardless of your destination, unlike the per-minute fees, which vary.

If you subscribe to Bird’s Ride Pass, you can get free monthly or weekly unlocks for a low fixed price. This can save you money in the long run if you plan on using Bird Scooter two or more times a day.

2. Per-Minute Fees

Bird Scooter’s per-minute fees are going to be the bulk of your expenses. Their total sum depends on where you’re going and how long you’ll be on the scooter.

This is why it’s important to track your time so you have an approximation of how much you’ll spend beforehand.

On average, Bird Scooter costs 15 cents per minute. However, the price depends on your area, so you can expect the per-minute fees to be a bit higher or lower than that.

Some cities have even reached 33 cents per minute, so you should check your city’s rate before jumping on a scooter.

The average destination for most riders is about 15 minutes away. This means that, assuming your city’s rate is 15 cents/minute, an average trip can cost you about $3.25 (added per-minute fee of $2.25 and an unlocking fee of $1).

An hour on the Bird Scooter would cost about $10 (per-minute fee of $9 plus a $1 unlocking fee).

3. Additional Costs (Fines for Breaking the Rules)

Normally, Bird Scooter doesn’t charge you any additional costs. However, if you break any of the rules outlined in the Bird User Agreement, you’ll need to pay a few fines.

Here are the important ones:

  • Unreturned Scooter: If you don’t return the Bird Scooter within 48 hours, Bird considers the scooter stolen or lost. This can cost you a fine of up to $500, along with a police report. If it’s only been 24 hours, you could be charged about $25.
  • Special Pickup Fee: If your ride ends on a private property or a location inaccessible to the next rider, you’ll need to pay a pickup fee of up to $120. This is because Bird would have to dispatch an employee to retrieve the scooter from your location.

The additional costs are only meant to enforce the rules, so you’ll always find a Bird Scooter when you need one.

As long as you don’t lose, steal, damage, or misplace the scooter, you won’t even need to pay these additional costs.

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 Scooter Cost Comparison

Most riders look for the easiest and most affordable method of transportation, be it a car or a scooter.

Here’s a comparison of how different options fare against Bird.

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 Ridesharing?

The Bird Scooter offers more maneuverability and is more affordable when you consider how much Uber costs.

For example, let’s say your destination is four miles away. With an average speed of 10mph, you’ll need about 24 minutes to get there on a Bird Scooter.

That’s about $4.60 for the entire trip ($1 unlocking fee + 24 minutes times 15 cents per minute). If you were to take an Uber, you’d get there faster, but you’d pay significantly more.

Alternatively, you could try Uber Ride Sharing, which has roughly the same per-minute fees.

However, shared Uber rides have a minimum fee of $4.85, which makes it a less convenient choice for nearby destinations.

Also, Uber charges you for both duration and mileage, while Bird Scooter only charges for the time spent on the scooter.

That being said, if you’re traveling in a group, Uber or other ridesharing companies might be a better choice because then you could split the fare.

Bird Scooter vs. Other Scooter Apps

Lime and Spin Scooters are two popular scooter apps that have recently gained popularity.

They have similar pricing methods to Bird Scooter, with a combination of an unlocking fee and per-minute fees.

Both Lime and Bird charge 15 cents per minute on average. However, Bird’s fees can reach 33 cents per minute in some cities, so your location will determine which app is cheaper.

Spin Scooter’s per-minute fees range from 15 to 40 cents, which means the average is around 25-30 cents per minute. Except for a few cities, Bird is usually a more economical choice.

If you’re looking for info, here’s a detailed breakdown of Spin Scooter costs and Lime Scooter pricing so you can compare.

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

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

Bird Scooter is an excellent means of transportation, especially if you’re going a short distance and don’t want to get stuck in traffic. It’s roughly the same price as other scooter apps but can be even cheaper in some cities. Looking more broadly, it’s especially cheaper than car-based ridesharing options.

It might not become your main source of transportation, but in a pinch, Bird Scooter will get you exactly where you need to be quickly and affordably.

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