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  • They can litter sidewalks, menace pedestrians and endanger their riders' lives.

  • Over the past year, app-enabled electric scooters have popped up in cities around the world,

  • inviting a wary public to hop a ride as indignant local governments scramble to regulate them.

  • It may come as a surprise, then, that e-scooters could be exactly what traffic-choked cities

  • need.

  • This is your Bloomberg QuickTake on e-scooters.

  • Download an app, find a scooter, unlock it, and go for a ride.

  • When you're done, leave it behind.

  • Rides can cost less than $2.

  • There's, Bird, Lime, Scoot, Skip, both Uber and Lyft have scooters now

  • as well.

  • They're new and by their essence, they're all over the place.

  • So if you're not using them, they get in your way and because people are just learning how

  • to use them, they tend to ride them in obnoxious ways.

  • And in a lot of places these become sort of a symbol of the technology industry which

  • annoys people.

  • At launch, cities like Cleveland banned them, while San Francisco halted operations for

  • several months to create a permit system that capped the number of scooters allowed.

  • Still, growth has continued: Bird now offers scooters in about 40 cities, while Lime is

  • in 23.

  • But despite the controversies, e-scooters have their defenders.

  • In dense urban areas, cars often aren't the fastest way to get around.

  • Many cities have turned to bike-share systems and dedicated bike lanes because they take

  • up less space than cars, and save on carbon emissions.

  • Some urban planners also see e-scooters as part of the future of city transportation.

  • The hope would be that you would eliminate a lot of shorter car trips.

  • That would get a lot of cars off the road which would allow for some rethinking of the

  • streets themselves, and which would create more protected lanes and so on.

  • And then, that would in turn broaden the demand for scooters.

  • So it would be sort of a virtuous cycle.

  • But despite Bird and Lime each being valued at more than $1 billion, it's too early

  • to tell if they will become viable businesses.

  • the things you look at are, how long it takes to pay off a vehicle, and how long

  • a vehicle stays on the road.

  • We don't know exactly how much this is, but you know, it does seem like you can pay these

  • things off fairly quickly, they're relatively inexpensive.

  • But, they also just get completely trashed, very quickly.

  • You're going to take care of your own car, but, as they say, "no one ever washes a rental

  • car."

They can litter sidewalks, menace pedestrians and endanger their riders' lives.

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B1 US lime urban bird ride vehicle app

This Urban Innovation Is Driving People Insane

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    Samuel posted on 2018/11/07
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