If you’re a college student, or just a regular person living in a large city, you’ve probably heard the drama surrounding shareable scooter services around the country. From Bird to Lime, companies have jumped at the chance to cater to the short-distance travel needs of people in medium to large-sized cities. But what if we told you that despite the commotion being raised about shareable scooters, you can still have your cake and eat it too? Metaphorically speaking, at least about an electric scooter. But before we get to that, let’s start with some basics.
What is Scooter Sharing?
In case you aren’t familiar, a shareable scooter system is a service that offers short-term electric scooter rentals to residents and visitors alike. The scooters being shared are typically electric motor scooters, also known as electric mopeds. The scooter sharing programs are similar to bike and car-sharing programs, such as those offered by Zipcar or LimeBike (Lime also operates a scooter sharing division, which is why it is referenced in this blog).
However, shareable scooter services are still in their early years in terms of existence. In 2012, Scoot Networks launched its scooters in San Francisco, beginning a mad rush by other businesses to conquer each viable city. The market for shareable scooter services has exploded since Scoot’s initial conquest, with some companies reaching the $1 billion dollar mark in less than a year. Though it seems as though every city in America has its own electric scooter flock, this map shows that the majority of shareable scooter fleets are located in Europe, with Paris, Madrid, and Berlin hosting the largest numbers of scooters.
One of the biggest perks of the shareable scooter is that they’re often dockless, which means that they can be left wherever the user chooses rather than being returned to a central location when the user is done riding them. This gives people more flexibility when riding but has also led to a fair number of complaints against shareable scooter companies. Which leads us to our next point: banning the shareable scooter.
Bye, Bye Birdie
Unfortunately for companies like Bird and Lime, complaints from city residents and local governments have created somewhat of a dark cloud over their success. Rather than applying for permits, several companies quietly dropped scooters in downtown areas across the country, basically taking the “ask for forgiveness rather than permission” approach to their electric scooter programs. It didn’t exactly go as planned.
Complaints raised by residents centered on two major factors, one being the biggest perk of shareable scooters: their dockless nature. Come to find out, riders weren’t exactly being responsible when they rented an electric scooter, often leaving them blocking sidewalks and doorways as well as riding them on sidewalks rather than in designated bike lanes when available. Cities such as San Francisco responded to complaints by residents and city officials by creating permit programs to regulate not only the number of shareable scooter companies that could operate, but the total number of shared electric scooters that could be deployed in the city regardless of the company.
As it turns out, many city governments didn’t exactly feel as though a simple “I’m sorry” was sufficient. In April of 2018, LimeBike and Bird ceased operation in Austin, Texas following regulations passed by the city council. Bird suffered a blow in Santa Monica, California, where it is headquartered, in February of 2018, when it settled with the city for $300,000 after violating the city ordinance against operating a rental company without a license. Later that summer, the company was banned from operating in Milwaukee after dropping off 100 electric scooters in the downtown area but failing to tell users that the city had a statute making the use of an unregistered motorized scooter on sidewalks and streets within the city illegal.
One of the biggest issues that larger companies such as Lime and Bird faced when trying to deploy their scooters into cities was the legality, and liability, surrounding a rider’s behavior. For example, was the rider using a helmet and following all city safety regulations? Were they haphazardly parking the electric scooters in the middle of the sidewalk, on someone’s private property, or in front of a business and blocking their doorway? Another issue was the complaints by users about the shareable scooter itself: riders desired to use them but when they tried to act on their desires, they found the scooters broken, uncharged, unavailable, or just plain “missing” (although we’re not condoning this by any means, we do get the joke).
Orange Jumpsuits Aren’t for Me
But what about those who still want to enjoy the freedom offered by an electric scooter, but who are also hoping to avoid whatever legal implications are currently entangling Lime and Bird? Luckily, there’s an option that offers all of the convenience of a shareable scooter but without even the remote chance of doing jail time. Allow us to introduce the Uber Scuuter, a foldable scooter offering users all of the perks they enjoy from the other guys, but without having to worry about the drama.
Uber Scuuter offers users a powerful and portable folding scooter that easily overcomes the problems faced by shareable scooters. With top speeds hitting 15mph and the ability to cover 27 miles on one charge, riders can travel between home and work, school, run errands, or head off to meet up with friends on their electric scooter without a care in the world. Since each folding scooter is individually owned and operated, there’s no need to worry about operating a rental business without a license, the inability to find an available scooter, or worrying that the electric scooter you’re riding is going to die five minutes into your ride because it wasn’t charged. Not to mention since each Uber Scuuter is a foldable scooter, there will be no complaints from people about finding your scooter parked where it shouldn’t be because you can simply fold it up and carry it with you.
If you want to learn more about the exact specifications of the Uber Scuuter folding scooter (hint: they’re impressive!), be sure to check out the website by clicking here. And since safety is always an important topic as well, be sure to brush up on your knowledge by reading our blog about safety tips for your electric scooter.
Please be sure to check with each individual city as to any ordinances or regulations for electric scooters before riding!