ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) graduate, Brooklyn Hill was in San Antonio last week on Bird scooters, telling her friend she wanted them to come to Abilene. Luckily for her and a few local businesses, that wish came true.
“We could literally go from Bird to Monk’s,” Hill said. “It would be so much easier, and so, on my way to the monks this morning, there are birds.”
This time, the company first contacted the city, complied with city code, and obtained a permit. Now Bird operates as a normal business in Key City.
Director of Emerging Companies for the Abilene Industrial FoundationBrent Schroeder said, “I think we found out, when the public did, they were coming back.”
From a downtown business perspective, The Local owner Justin Russell said he was optimistic about the return of the Bird.
“The ability to go from the north side to the south side, without having to get in your car and find parking,” explained Russell. “It allows people to access that land behind The Local and use it to their advantage.”
Across the street at Monks Coffee Shop, owner Allison Carroll said she also sees motorized scooters as a business opportunity.
“For downtown businesses and the downtown vibe in general, it’s a really positive thing,” Carroll said. “Back when we had birds a while ago, when they first came here, it really added a sense of fun and liveliness.”
Unfortunately, it was those past experiences with Bird that raised concerns this time around.
“To make sure everyone stays safe, and as a business owner, we appreciate people thinking about where we leave scooters,” Carroll said.
Schroeder said that despite this, he was hopeful for the future of downtown Abilene.
“Anything that encourages mobility and people getting out and frequenting our downtown businesses, we encourage that,” Schroeder added.