Bird Tests New Payment System to Make Purchases at L.A. and Santa Monica Retailers

Joe Bel Bruno
Joe Bel Bruno is dot.LA's editor in chief, overseeing newsroom operations and the organization's editorial team. He joins after serving as managing editor of Variety magazine and as senior leadership in spots at the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. He's a veteran journalist that loves breaking big stories, living back in L.A., a good burrito and his dog Gladys — not necessarily in that order.
Bird Tests New Payment System to Make Purchases at L.A. and Santa Monica Retailers
Image Courtesy of Bird Pay

Bird Rides Inc., whose ubiquitous rental scooters are a staple of Los Angeles street corners, is getting into the electronic pay business.

The Santa Monica-based company said Tuesday it will unveil Bird Pay, allowing customers to purchase items from local businesses through the company's app. This is considered a logical next step for customers since the company estimates nearly 60% of riders are heading toward local businesses like bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

The company, considered to be one of the world's largest providers of electric scooter rentals, is testing the concept out in select local businesses throughout Los Angeles and Santa Monica. But, the concept could roll out to other big cities if Bird Pay takes off.

"An early insight that emerged shortly after introducing Bird in Santa Monica was that it had the potential to not only allow people to avoid the chore of circling a block to find parking resulting in congestion and frustration, but it could also foster a more direct connection between people and local businesses," said CEO and founder Travis VanderZanden.

"Store owners in the community often tell me, 'Birds outside bring business inside," he said. "This phenomenon paired with our commitment to community resulted in Bird Pay which helps drive even more customers to local businesses."

There's anecdotal evidence that the easier mobility from the likes of Bird, scooter rival Lime and Uber's Jump electric bikes may increase consumer spending. VanderZanden said his company's internal research shows that business in 100 cities reported that more riders on the street led to higher traffic in stores.

Bird Pay allows riders to easily pay at these local businesses using their Bird app — no debit or credit card needed, no handling of cash, just a scan of a QR code.

Aric Haut, who owns Harvest Bar in Los Angeles, said his restaurant was the first local business to partner with Bird Pay. His business was the first to test the concept ahead of the larger rollout this week.

"It made sense to offer riders an effortless way to purchase our famous acai bowls and smoothies using the mode of transportation that brought them to Harvest Bar," he said.

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Snap Becomes the Latest Tech Firm Requiring Employees Return to the Office

Nat Rubio-Licht
Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at
Snap logo and hq
Photo by rblfmr/ Shutterstock

Snap is the latest major tech company to bring the hammer down on remote work: CEO Evan Spiegel told employees this week that they will be expected to work from the office 80% of the time starting in February.

Per the announcement, the Santa Monica-based company’s full-time workers will be required to work from the office four or more days per week, though off-site client meetings would count towards their in-office time. This policy, which Spiegel dubbed “default together,” applies to employees in all 30 of the company's global offices, and the company is working on an exceptions process for those that wish to continue working remotely. Snap’s abrupt change follows other major tech firms, including Apple, which began its hybrid policy requiring employees to be in the office at least three days per week in September, and Twitter, which axed remote work completely after Elon Musk’s takeover (though he did temporarily close offices amid a slew of resignations in mid-November).

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