The city of Waco is demanding scooter-share company Bird Rides remove their scooters from the city.
These demands come after Assistant City Manager Bradley Ford supposedly saw some of the company’s scooters on Franklin Avenue last Friday morning, and acted shortly thereafter to have them removed.
The city claims that Bird Rides is operating illegally and must remove all of its scooters. The company is supposedly violating a city ordinance which forbids anyone to “store, sell or offer for sale personal property of any kind or character from or upon any street, sidewalk, alley, park, or other public property in the city.”
After removing its scooters, the company can then go through the proper bureaucratic channels that allow ride-sharing companies to operate within the city, said Waco officials.
Ford said that while he thinks the company could be beneficial to Waco, it needs to “be done in a planned way.” Additionally, Waco officials are supposedly worried about Bird Rides operating in the city for fear of their customers riding the scooters on sidewalks—which is illegal.
By almost all accounts, Bird Rides and similar transportation start-up companies are beneficial to the communities they enter. Much like Uber, they offer low-cost transportation solutions, something critical in a college town like Waco. And just like when Uber entered many municipal markets they are being hamstrung by ridiculous ordinances that forbid innovative companies to do business or forbid adults from riding electric scooters on sidewalks.These laws appear to do nothing except strip citizens of comfort and convenience.
Overzealous bureaucrats like Assistant City Manager Ford are a perfect example of why government should must be limited and constrained. With too many employees and too little work to do, bureaucrats such as Ford go after disruptive innovators like Bird Rides and use ridiculous, rent-seeking city ordinances to make life unnecessarily difficult for both entrepreneurs and citizens and unnecessarily lucrative for government.
One would hope this would not happen in a city as conservative and supposedly pro-business as cherry-red Republican Waco, but big government seems to have infected even the most conservative parts of Texas.