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The electric scooter-sharing company Bird Rides is continuing to expand operations in Minnesota. 

The number of Minnesota communities outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul offering the California-based company's fleet of dockless, electric scooters has already doubled this year compared to last. 

The company joined St. Louis Park, Grand Rapids, Golden Valley, Duluth, Hastings and Austin this spring after rolling into Albert Lea, Bloomington, Two Harbors, Hopkins and Mankato last year. 

That's according to Garrett Gronowski, a senior account executive with Bird Rides who pitched the concept to the City of Burnsville last month. 

The Burnsville City Council has voiced support for drawing up a pilot agreement with Bird Rides — city officials say it'll take some time to prepare for electric scooters, but the fleet is expected to join the city next spring. 

Company representatives have also been in talks with the City of Savage, according to City Administrator Brad Larson. However, city officials have not yet reviewed a formal proposal. 

While many communities are signaling interest in the micro-mobility industry, others have pulled back. The Edina City Council, for example, ended its relationship with Lime in 2020 after a two-year trial allowing the company's electric scooters. 

Founded in 2017, Bird Rides now operates in roughly 200 cities across the United States and over 350 cities globally. 

"Where you see bikes today in your community, is where you'll see e-scooters," Gronowski told the Burnsville City Council. "They follow the same rules of the road." 

Riders download the Bird app, sign a user agreement and verify their age (users must be at least 18) before cruising away on the scooters. 

A local fleet manager is tasked with "rebalancing" the fleet in high-demand areas and resolving scooter etiquette issues, such as haphazardly parked scooters. 

The scooters cost $1 to unlock and $1 per minute, for an average of $7 per ride, according to Gronowski. 

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