March 20, 2018

"Bird Scooters Have Invaded L.A.’s Westside."

"The Uber-like service for zippy two-wheeled vehicles has taken over the Westside...."
As the public took notice of Bird... Santa Monica officials struggled to regulate the service, which allows users to drop off the scooters wherever they please, assuming the devices are not blocking driveways or endangering the public (the electric contraptions don’t move without an app code and are picked up by trucks every night by 8 p.m.)....

“Preventing car ownership is the goal of all these [car and scooter rental] companies,” [said Bird founder Travis VanderZanden]. “I think if all of us are successful, that’s fine.”

27 comments:

Eric said...

We just got these in DC (another company, which also does nondocking bikes). They are obnoxious. As for the comment that they do not move without an app code, you don't need an app code to heave them into bushes or up a tree.

Roy Jacobsen said...

"Preventing car ownership" is their goal?

Weird.

Here I thought their goal was to offer a transportation service to the public.

Danno said...

So a scooter, which forces you to remain standing and has no storage compartment is going to make you want to avoid owning a car? Get serious!

Howard said...

New American entrepreneurial venture, Trumpians from flyover country sneer as they wonder why nothing new comes from red counties.

tcrosse said...

Trumpians from flyover country sneer as they wonder why nothing new comes from red counties.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Californians.

Howard said...

Touche Tcrosse

Luke Lea said...

America is the land of invention.

Danno said...

Howard, How is a scooter an improvement over a share bicycle or share e-bike? Riddle me that ass-wipe?

Howard said...

In America, Danno, we let the market answer your question.

Humperdink said...

"Trumpians from flyover country sneer as they wonder why nothing new comes from red counties."

Excepting food of course, at harvest time.

Humperdink said...

@Howard. God bless them. Necessity is mother of invention and Californians have more than a few necessities. They could park that baby in a tiny house. It could have it's own bedroom. And it would be easy to haul up to the $2500/month loft.

tim maguire said...

We are fast approaching a time where most cars in urban areas are shared among multiple owners/users. In our children's lifetimes, that will be extended to most cars anywhere. The idea of the car as symbol of American freedom is a relatively recent concoction. It was not handed down by god or the founding fathers, and we will survive after it rather better than we survived before it.

tim maguire said...

Howard, scooters are not of much use outside of densely populated cities. It's stupid to feign surprise that people who have no use for them don't embrace them.

Howard said...

Humperdink except we do that better too Blue County Ag

Howard said...

tim: point taken, however, why sneer and insult someone who has the balls and brains to take a chance on a venture? The root cause of that is they are jealous of courage which I find disgusting.

D said...

Its late in the evening. I'm googling what scooter to snare
She puts on her makeup. The kind Facebook knew she would wear
And then she asked me: is this world alright?
And I said yes,
We're all One in the Techno-Collective Marketplace Tonight

Humperdink said...

@howard Santa Cruz ag feeds the country. Good to know.

Birches said...

I didn't think the comments were negative towards the idea. I happen to think it's a very good idea, although I wouldn't ride on the street either.

Some people are just touchy I guess.

Humperdink said...

"Hundreds of thousands of acres of California farmland were not planted last year.

The oft-repeated media fib that farmers use 80 percent of California’s water, is not true. What they don’t admit, however is California’s most recent drought is mostly a man-made crisis.

Droughts are nature’s fault; they are naturally occurring. But water shortages are the fault of government officials. The state of California hasn’t significantly invested in water storage since the 1970s when Jerry Brown was governor the first time around. “This is an era of limits and we all had better get used to it,” Brown said.

https://canadafreepress.com/article/why-cant-california-farmers-get-the-water-they-need

Michael said...

Very cool concept. Lot of disruption, driving the rulers mad. How can they tax tax tax.

As is the app that makes it possible to rent hotel rooms by the minute. Oh, and not in the no-tell-motel but in the Four Seasons in San Francisco. Another way to monetize down times and give people respite between long layovers or to borrow a good address for a meeting in the lobby. Called "Recharge."

Ryan said...

I live in Santa Monica and find them mildly annoying, but not all that bad. Plus the city got a $300K settlement from Bird for operating without permits, shortly after Bird got a $10M round of financing.

Michael said...

Ryan
So the city got its beak in the deal!! But of course.

Crazy Jane said...

Ryan said:

"Plus the city got a $300K settlement from Bird for operating without permits, shortly after Bird got a $10M round of financing."

Actually, it was a shakedown. The company had a business license but not the RIGHT KIND of business license in a city that had no licensing requirements for a scooter rental company. So it was the company's fault.

More than 100 Bird riders have been ticketed ($197) for not wearing helmets in a city where almost no bicyclists wear helmets. Meanwhile there is a lot of opportunistic theft by homeless people and has been a significant uptick in serious crime. I saw a guy smoking crack or meth on a busy sidewalk one afternoon last week, but average police response time now is more than 30 minutes so there was no point calling about it.

Personally, I am happy to walk a few miles, but the Birds are popular. People use scooters to get from the light rail station to appointments or can park their cars outside the city center and scoot to meet friends. Tourists like them, but Birds now are banned (while Segways are not) on the bike path along the beach in Santa Monica and Venice

Except for the enforcement regime, I just don't see the problem.

Trumpit said...

Those scooters are too dangerous for the average person. If they catch on, I'll invest in Emergency Room stock. I normally wish entrepreneurs good luck. As much as I want relief from traffic, I don't agree that a newfangled scooter company is the answer. The more wheels, the safer I feel. In my small car, with its puny "lawn mower" motor, I hate driving on the freeway at high speed, but sometimes I have to. The way I feel about small cars, is the way Randy Newman feels about short people.

Unknown said...

I use the ones in SM and love them. Great supplement to cars becaus you can park and then roam up and down the coast.

Also, Santa Monica definitely shook them down for $300,000 and used its cops as muscle. Once the company paid protection, voila, no more tickets.

Caligula said...

"How is a scooter an improvement over a share bicycle or share e-bike?" Well, it's physically smaller than a bicycle in that it can fit in a smaller space.

My guess is the "just leave it anywhere when you're done with it" business model will end when someone figures out how to gut the access-code lock.

What's surprising about various types of share/rental bicycles is how costly they are to use, relative to the price of buying a useable (not fancy) bicycle. The overhead in operating share bicycle business must be huge; only a tiny percentage of total cost of providing this service seems to go for the bicycles themselves.

"Plus the city got a $300K settlement from Bird for operating without permits." When trolleys interurban rail was still a bright, new idea, cities used to charge the operators for the use of the public streets. These contracts typically ran for 20 years, leaving the operator in a very weak negotiating position when it ran out as it would lose its entire local investment if it didn't agree to a new contract, at whatever price the city demanded.

General Motors is often blamed for running the trolley companies out of business, but the cities that hosted them could and did also drive them out. Only to find themseles investing $millions to operate city-owned transit systems that are fortunate if they recover half their operating costs (and none of their capital costs) from the farebox.

Manty Five said...

"Preventing Car Ownership"... by a company running trucks all over the place to pick up the scooters?

I think what he means is preventing car ownership by the little people.