My analysis of Bird's unit economics in Tel Aviv:
Wow, I find that pretty expensive.
I don't have scooter numbers for comparison and no idea aboul general cost of living in TLV, but in Munich I pay
- 1 EUR for 30min of rental bike ( negligible yearly cost of 3 EUR/year)
- 2.80 EUR for public transport (1.40 for short trips)
So yeah, the scooter is electric, but are people really using them for > 10minute rides?
Apparently they do.
> The average ride duration was 15.5 minutes.
They both charge 10 sek (USD 1.1) to unlock, where VOI charges 0.165 and Lime charges 0.330 per minute.
Bus stops are everywhere and a single ticket costs $2.75 where a 24 hour ticket in the same city zone costs $5.50 (so you always get this if returning), in addition to 25% off any rider in addition to the first on the ticket.
Riding to work (5 min) and back from the grocery store to home (another 5) costs me $5.5 on a Lime, the same as the bus which allows me to ride anywhere for 24 hours, and $3.86 on a VOI.
For any distances longer than that I'd rather take the bus, since it's warm, comfortable and a notably safer ride.
This was due to the unfortunate fact that the breaks suddenly engaged in mid ride with partially grave consequences.
It's a bit of a bummer when your scooter schreeches to a grinding halt, when going 25 KM/H.
The potentially bad thing is that your insurer may balk on your claim.
But take into consideration, that non-electric bikes are not very practical commute option during the Israeli summer (for most people).
Public transport (Bus only) is quite ineffective because of congestion.
The bikes are ok, the electric push helps (you still have to pedal, but it levels out the effort, so going uphill is kind of the same effort as going level), and the convenience of just taking them from wherever and leave them where you feel like is really nice.
But holy shit they are expensive. My commute by bike would be aprox 30 mins, that is 5.5 pounds per ride - the tube is only 2.9 pounds, the bus only 1.5 pounds. A 1-year Santander bike subscription is only 90 pounds, and the ride is almost equally nice.
At 5 pounds per ride, buying a commute scooter would break even in 2 months. To make it worthwhile to ride the electric bikes, the price would have to come in at about half to be somewhere between the tube (which moves you fast, but you have to walk a bit to the station) and bus (which moves slower, but the stations are much closer to your home, usually), at 2.5 pounds per 30 min ride (a bit above Santander which charges 2 pounds per 30 mins, but which are not electric).
Shooting along to a station and then letting the tube get me the 13 miles across London and then jumping back on the scooter was great.
This wasn't long after the tube bombing and I was stopped a few times to discuss the scooter - was it petrol powered? Was it safe to take on the tube)
It was heavy (this was 2004 and I know they have come a long way)
It wasn't fun in the rain
Stowing it on a train or bus was a hassle (again this was a 2004 model - they likely fold better now)
Had a vague unease that I'd get stopped for either riding on the road or the pavement - potential risks of getting points on your licence.
In the end I actually got a Razor push scooter and got nearly the same benefit, but with no charging.
But finally I got a job with room to store bikes, and a shower and never looked back. Far faster than any other option for me, and paid for itself very swiftly (started on a £150 bike, and worked way up to a nicer one in time with the savings I'd made.)
The most obvious strategy I see is that the VCs think they can pump these companies then dump them on the open markets and cash out before thousands of global, regional, and local competitors flood in and make their non defensible positions obvious.
Maybe the scooter rentals are propping up another of the vc's concerns?
> The pair hit on a number of topics, including the unit economics, safety and seasonality of the scooter business
> What we see on the unit economics of those, it’s like night and day
You can carefully lift them to the side, but people's inability to think of others being manifested so clearly is making me lose faith in people.
Where “progress” is synonymous with “profit” and the things being broken aren’t yours. Having said that if you’re volunteering, I know a guy with a hammer.
With user taxi drivers lost their monopolies, the car put horse and buggies out of business, amazon put many retailers out of business etc. etc.
I can't think of one advancement that had 0 negative effects on anybody. I don't even know why someone would argue otherwise, i thought this was a pretty common position in somewhere like HN.
Sure you can say that the overall benefits were easily worth it, but its irrelevant to my point that there is always eggs broken along the way.
For a tech-pole, it is quite a backward city.
> On safety: In the year or so that scooters hit the mainstream in the U.S., there were casualties. Moreover, many — kids included — realized just how easy it is to get away with scootering sans helmet, while others rode throughout the night. Bird, to keep children off scooters, at least, requires customers to provide a driver’s license when they sign up. Given the number of issues that have arisen as scooters become increasingly popular, improved safety measures are bound to be in the news in the year ahead.
Apparently it's for a reason colinear to needing licenses to drive cars, ie, to limit irresponsible scooterers and minors who tend to disregard rules and be the most brash riders.
It just so happens it's also conveniently a great way to keep poor people and homeless people from making use of this even if they had the money for a ride, but then again maybe that's for their own good.
There are so many other situations where people can accidentally cause property damage that don't require insurance. Its just the cars have a very high risk of causing huge amounts of damage very easily.
Why? If I get sick, I need to go bankrupt if I don't have an insurance, but if I run a stop sign on a bicycle, government should pay for medical bill?
This would make more sense in countries that have universal healthcare. USA isn't one of those.
If 2 cyclists crash in to each other they will cause minimal property damage
Additionally, I imagine it would be easier to get (and require) bicyclists to carry catastrophic insurance, since carrying a license would at least go some way towards demonstrating safe behavior. By carrying such insurance, both cyclists and surviving family would be protected from at least some of the financial burdens of accidents.
So, yes on two counts: Incentive for safer cycling and easier access to (and possibly mandated) financial protection from accidents.
It's very hard for a cyclist to hit and run
No, it's not a given. I've never heard anyone want that before
The biggest challenge I see of existing well-executed public transit/cities is last mile coverage for handicapped/disabled folks and sufficient infrastructure for them in stations without having to resort to uber/lyft for <1mile transit. If Bird/scooter industry expanded into solving these problems I would greatly celebrate. I get frustrated seeing Bird celebrated as the next coming of the steam engine, when it barely moves the needle for regular transit, without remotely addressing the biggest long-standing issues of the space.
We've already started to have drunks on scooters, elderly people feeling exposed to random vehicle hits, no-helmet fine issues, public nuisance, juicers hiding scooters to game the demand pricing/charging..
What we needed was integrated public transport on a non-profit basis. Lower cost fares, better integration. We got half of it. A really good high circumference e-ticket integrated fare scheme, but not cheap and with some serious computer-systems weaknesses. The transport planners are obsessed with reducing public cost, not with increasing public utility.
As it is right now it's a mobility issue for the disabled. I come from a country with no sidewalks with the disabled forever left to the mercy of their caretakers. I was simply amazed by the level of planning to accommodate them in the US. But now these scooters are blocking the sidewalks everywhere. What are the disabled going to do? Get up and move the scooter?
> taking to the cleaners
I normally would just go look it up, but this is a high density of jargon/colloquialisms. Or maybe it's not and I just never heard them, but I'm just offering my data point here.
Scofflaw is a pretty old word, and being a combination of scoff and law many people could work out its meaning.
Take someone to the cleaners is a fairly common idiom.
Juicers seems to be slang related to the people who charge up the scooters, but again, juice + er is a pattern many people can pick up on.
It probably is. Saying something is "out of juice" to mean "out of power" has a fairly long history. It's a pretty straightforward to extend that slang to someone who restores power to things by recharging them.
I don’t think that asking people to use bland, lowest common denominator language is an incentive for smart people to participate. This isn’t the Simplified English version of Wikipedia.
In my own economy, attempts to avoid public support for transport have marginalized investment, and meant service is very expensive, and not well suited to local communities. A number of things like Uber have wrecked the taxi industry, and Lime appears to be squeezing a rental-bike model funded out of Bus Shelter advertizing. This doesn't make me happy.
Where I see the niche is medium distances were the metro is not a fast solution but if scooters are ubiquitously available for these situations, I see value in them.
And yeah, Tourists seem to love them.
I hope you are right. The littering / parking isn't the biggest problem or nuisance. It's the fact that the riders of these "e-scooters" almost always ride on the sidewalks / footpaths and cause safety hazard to pedestrians. Forget the fact that it's illegal in most states to ride a motorized vehicle (other than disability vehicles) on the sidewalks, almost all of these lyme, scoot, bird riders ignore it and routinely cause collisions in San Francisco.
> A motorized scooter may be operated on a bicycle path, trail or bikeway, but not on a sidewalk.
Related: Reminder: It Is Illegal to Ride Scooters On City Sidewalks => https://sf.curbed.com/2016/6/1/11831080/scooters-sidewalks-i...
It's more dangerous to ride them on streets, even on bike paths. Who cares if it's illegal? I'd rather ride on the sidewalk then get hit by a car trying to pass me at 45 mph.
The pedestrians that are endangered by relatively high speed motorized vehicles riding on sidewalks care. It's totally reasonable for you to not want to ride a scooter on the street, but that doesn't entitle you to break the law and make sidewalks less safe for others.
The chance of getting hit from behind likely decreases on the sidewalk, but the chance of getting hit from turning vehicles increases greatly. The chance of being hit by turning vehicles is higher in general as far as I remember, too.
It's more dangerous to ride them on streets, even on bike paths. Who cares if it's illegal?
Who cares if it's illegal? Pretty much everyone else.
I use the scooter because its faster than the bus for about the same price ~$3. And super fun.
Amsterdam-based e-scooter startup dott raises €20 million to expand across European cities
A similar related event was when stop lights got converted to LEDs. In some areas in some times of the year there would be snow that covers up the light which now no longer runs hot enough to melt it. News at the time sensationalized this issue making it seem like the LED stop lights were bad despite the obvious solution being to just put a heater on the light to run in those areas on those few days where it is needed.
When people suggest getting to work by bike they don't expect you to only ever use a bike for the rest of your life but to cut out the needless car trips that could be done by bike and leave the car until it is needed. The money you save on not using a car multiple times a day would easily pay for a taxi in the rare case you need it.
There are train lines from Miami to Seattle, and the US rail system is the most efficient in the world for metrics it cares about: $/ton and on-time.
Miami to Seattle is ~4400km, which would be 11 hours at 400 km/h without making any stops, or 4 hours longer than a flight.
Many cities were built with automobiles as assumed modes of transport, so walking with groceries would be silly as you're expected to purchase more than you can carry from a more centralized store. The tradeoff for being reliant on a car is the cost of goods are lower in bulk. People walk home with groceries all the time in cities built before the automotive age. For example, everyone walks home with groceries in Manhattan.
People cycle all the time in rain/snow in northern US cycling friendly cities. Actually the best cycling cities in the US include Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and New York, which all have very rainy/snowy seasons.
No one is building hyperloops seriously. They're fun projects for bored wealth.
I don’t know and I can’t explain it.
It's my experience that you can say something 99% of people agree with, the 99% don't feel the need to reply with their support. But the 1% who disagree do feel the need to say so. And forums will validate this, with upvotes for well-reasoned discussion (i.e. disagreement), and downvotes for 'me too' comments.
If you posted "The bald eagle is a majestic creature" I'd get downvoted for replying "This! You tell 'em" but I'd get upvoted for replying "Bald eagles are much smaller than wedge-tailed eagles, and they have a call so sickly film makers use the call of the red tailed hawk instead"
I see, so you just said something that sounded edgy and cool to you that's backed up by no reasoning. Generally HN has higher quality discourse than this.
...describes a very real experience they had at least anecdotal experience with, which I too can relate to (getting those responses to those suggestions from Americans). I have some hypotheses for these, but honestly they have also been beaten to death by transit advocates elsewhere.
Because streets were designed as car lanes, and bikes/scooters are niche transportation technologies  when compared to cars?
 Bikes and scooters are really only useful for short-distance individual transport. They do not handle long distances, groups, and cargo very well.
Cars are just too dangerous to have anywhere near people. They should be banned from cities and suburbs. 40,000 people die every year in the US because of cars. Dumbest idea ever.
99% of the streets for miles and miles around me were built after the invention of the car for near-dedicated use by automobiles, and those that were not were converted to that design.
> Cars are just too dangerous to have anywhere near people. They should be banned from cities and suburbs.
You say that, but I'd like to see you move your family to new house without using an automobile to move your stuff.
Citation needed. Your use of "genuinely" indicates to me that there's a large subjective component to that statistic. I'd believe that it's physically possible to replace 99% of "suburb and city traffic" with "trains, bikes, or legs." However, I'm not at all convinced that 99% does not "genuinely benefit" from cars. My guess is that such replacement probably requires a strong ideological commitment to car-disuse  in order to persevere in the face of real drawbacks.
 I know several people with such ideological commitments.