First it was the people of San Francisco who vandalized electric kick scooters in all kinds of unimaginable ways. Now, LA residents are showing their frustration by setting scooters on fire and throwing them into the ocean, trash cans and even toilets.
At the same time, e-scooter operators like Bird, Lime, Spin and Skip keep rolling out new fleets almost every day and cities are trying to find a compromise that satisfies both sides.
E-scooter fleets solve the problem of the last mile commute without breaking a sweat and not worrying whether your vehicle will be stolen. However, the emergence of e-scooter sharing fleets has created many problems for cities and people are frustrated about the way e-scooters are being used. It is time to evaluate the pros and cons of e-scooter fleets and see where the industry is heading.
Pros of e-scooter fleets
For the end user, the benefits are self evident. It is a perfect way to easily commute short distances. All you need to rent an e-scooter is an app, and you can leave one almost anywhere, as long as you follow the guidelines for using and parking e-scooters. Unfortunately, we are already seeing that e-scooters are often left in random places, blocking pedestrian pathways. Using an e-scooter is also quite cheap — it costs around $1 per trip plus 15 cents per minute. In addition, scooters are fun to ride and are better for the environment than other modes of transportation that run on fossil fuels.
For the potential fleet operators, the main benefit is the booming billion-dollar industry and its various opportunities to scale quickly. According to Anand Sanwal, the CEO of tech data and analytics firm CB Insights, “There are underlying trends such as a decline in car ownership and the shift to living in urban areas which also suggest that the urban transport market that Bird and others are attacking is growing.”
Secondly, according to one of the investors in Bird, Mark Suster, as an e-scooter operator you get tons of valuable data by tracking where the vehicles are and where people tend to pick and leave their e-scooters. This in turn can help cities to build their cities better.