I imagine myself, on most nights, as an old man many years down the line, reflecting on the fond memories of my early adulthood. When that day comes, I’m sure I’ll speak on the excessive use of memes in modern society, whatever atmospheric phenomena allowed for President Donald Trump to hold the presidency without consequence, and, of course, the rise of the micro mobility industry and its dastardly electric scooters. In the olden days, pedestrians would need to walk with some semblance of vigilance in the event of a cyclist who mistook a sidewalk for a bike lane, but as the micro mobility industry has taken over US cities, leaving pedal-assisted bikes and electric scooters all over, the phrase “foot traffic” has never been truer.
Several months ago, Uber caught on to emerging micro mobility industry, which has seen millions of Americans fawn over electric scooters and pedal-assisted bikes left on city sidewalks across the country. Uber acquired the bike-sharing startup Jump for a price close to $200 million, thus giving its users access to the increasingly popular form of local transportation. Back in January, Jump closed a $10 million Series A round of funding while simultaneously becoming the first stationary bicycle service to receive a permit to launch in San Francisco. Uber released their first Jump scooters in Santa Monica, and since then Uber riders have been able to locate and claim a Jump electric scooter from the same app that they hail rides. Riders simply scan on QR code located on the center of the steering mechanism and start riding the scooters. The company reports that rides cost $1 to start and $0.15 per minute afterward.
Several months ago, Lyft, perhaps Uber’s most significant competitor, announced their selection of JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the “lead underwriter of its initial public offering along with Credit Suisse Group and Jefferies Group, the WSJ reported. Since its inception, Lyft has played a massive game of catch-up in a market dominated on all fronts by Uber Technologies. While both companies have emerged as the leading brands in the ride-hailing industry, Lyft has historically ridden in the back seat, with Uber confidently at the wheel, touting a potential $120 billion valuation. In an effort to stay relevant in the eyes of both consumers and investors in the ride-share space, Lyft unleashed its own fleet of electric scooters in major cities across the country back in September. As for their first target location, the Company decided to drop its wheeled friends in Denver, Colorado. Though I cannot confidently say that I’ve seen nearly as many Lyft scooters as I have Jump, Bird, and Lime, the latter two belong to two other major companies in the micro mobility sector.
“Lyft Bikes and Scooters will be our most affordable transportation options and will extend mobility to communities that have historically been underserved. We will work alongside leading local non-profits and community groups across the country. Together we will develop income eligible programs and community outreach to ensure transportation access and affordability to those who need it most.”
–John Zimmer & Logan Green, Lyft Co-founders
In recent news, Lyft is partnering up with Segway NineBot, the company to blame for manufacturing the electric scooters you see on your sidewalks, to roll out the next generation of shared scooters, according to TechCrunch. For those unaware of the abuse some of these scooters undergo, I’d highly recommend checking out the”Bird Graveyard” Instagram account, a profile replete with content featuring everyday citizens destroying electric scooters by lighting them on fire, throwing them off bridges, and any other violent act of scooter-based aggression you can imagine. Segway Ninebot is well aware of this unintentional wear and tear and, with the help of Lyft, the Company plans on releasing a more durable scooter, the Model Max, sometime later this year. Per the reports regarding the new scooter, Model Max is designed “taking into consideration complex shared usage scenarios, consumer overuse of vehicles, operation models and maintenance cost.”
While I can guarantee that no scooter will be flame/bridge retardant, Segway Ninebot says they will share more information towards the end of January.