Birmingham bolts forward with second new rideshare business

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Don't these scooters look snazzy? Photo via City of Birmingham
Bolt scooter and bikes will be in the streets of Birmingham soon. Photo via City of Birmingham

More bikes and scooters are coming to the streets of Birmingham. The city is partnering up with Gotcha and BOLT to introduce the second mobile rideshare program. Keep reading to learn how you can zip through The Magic City’s streets.

Gotcha! New bikes are coming to town

Bolt bikes and scooters will be on the streets of Birmingham soon! Photo via City of Birmingham
Don’t these bikes and scooters look snazzy? Photo via City of Birmingham

Birmingham is partnering up with BOLT to increase transportation access across the city. Gotcha, a BOLT company, is bringing 50 e-bikes and 100 e-scooters to Birmingham starting July 22nd. The bikes and scooters are 100% electric and mobile.

The bikes and scooters can only be unlocked through the Gotcha mobility app. To unlock a bike or scooter, scan the QR code near the handlebars on the app. After that, all you have to do is ride!

It costs $1 to unlock a Gotcha vehicle. The rideshare app charges 35 cents per minute afterwards.

Gotcha bikes and scooters will be located throughout the city in corrals. Many of the micromobility corrals are in repurposed parking spaces. Here’s a map:

Gotcha bikes and scooters are all over the city! Photo via City of Birmingham
Gotcha bikes and scooters are all over the city! Photo via City of Birmingham

Finally, Gotcha will be adding a fleet of seated cruisers, similar to mopeds, soon. The fleets of e-bikes and e-scooters will also grow as demand increases.

Rideshare moves Birmingham forward

Who's pumped? Photo via City of Birmingham
Who’s pumped? Photo via City of Birmingham

Birmingham’s policymakers are working to increase alternative transportation throughout the city. Gotcha is the second micromobility-based rideshare program in The Magic City. The first, Veo, hit the streets this spring.

Before implementing Veo and Gotcha, the city council had to get scooters approved as legal street vehicles by the state. They were successful.

Councilman Darrell O’Quinn led Birmingham city council’s transportation committee when Gotcha was first proposed.

“For too long in the city of Birmingham, it’s been the circumstance that you pretty much have to own a car in order to be able to get around the city and access opportunities. To put it plainly, we saw the need for providing more transportation options in the city of Birmingham.”

City Councilman Darrell O’Quinn
Gotcha describes their rideshare philosophy. Photo via City of Birmingham
Gotcha describes their rideshare philosophy. Photo via City of Birmingham

O’Quinn thinks programs like Gotcha and Veo are effective for short traveling distances. He hopes they’ll connect citizens to other forms of transportation like MAX.

“They’re ideal in entertainment districts and areas downtown. Going from an office to a restaurant, or within neighborhoods to make a short jaunt to the convenience store.” 

City Councilman Darrell O’Quinn

Freedom on the road comes with rules

Just like driving, there are specific laws that govern scooter and bike riding in Birmingham. Here are some of them:

  • Under the city ordinance and in keeping with current traffic laws, bikes and scooters will not be allowed on sidewalks. Police officers can write citations for those who ride on the sidewalk.
  • Bikes and scooters should be parked in recommended parking zones established by the city and identified with signage.
  • Scooters will have a maximum speed of 15 m.p.h.
  • Users must be 19 years old to operate scooters and have a government-issued driver’s license. Parents can provide permission for a user who is 18.
  • While users are not required to wear helmets, they are strongly encouraged.
  • Users who do not park in the recommended parking zones will be charged a $2 convenience fee by the vendor. Gotcha will be responsible for removing bikes or scooters that have not been left in appropriate locations.
  • Bikes will be available at any time. Scooters will not be available from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

If you’re downtown, you’ll probably see me trying out one of the new blue Gotcha scooters tomorrow. See you out on the streets!

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