This week, Uber’s micromobility bet is growing faster than its ride-hailing biz, rumor has it Bird has agreed to acquire Scoot, and SF and Lyft butt heads over exclusivity, but first…
Forget Bike Mountain, Meet Automobile Everest
If you’re the kind of person who subscribes to this newsletter, then you’ve probably seen photos like the one below showing a sea of brightly colored bicycles heaped in a mass graveyard, handlebars twisted and axles bent as far as the eye can see.
Taken in the wake of China’s bike-sharing bust, these snapshots illustrate a vivid cautionary tale about shared mobility and environmentalism: Tech companies win over communities with big promises of cheap, accessible zero-emission transportation, flood the streets with vehicles overnight, and then, when the going gets tough, dump their rides in a landfill and vanish.
And its not just China. Ofo may have junked more hardware than any third-wave micromobility provider, but even high-growth, VC-backed startups in Europe and the U.S. burn through vehicles at an astonishing rate. Your average kick scooter in California can only endure a few months of fleet use before it has to be retired.
Throwaway culture at its worst, right? Not quite. When it comes to scrap, bikes and scooters still have nothing on cars.
Before we go further, if you’re not following Micromobility podcast co-host Oliver Bruce on Twitter, do yourself a favor.
This week Oliver offered a tweet-by-tweet break down of why the mountains of discarded bikes you’ve seen on the news are not as scary as they look. Here’s a sample of his characteristically keen analysis…
Full #thread here. Can’t recommend it enough.
Don’t forget to buy your tickets to Micromobility Europe (Berlin / Oct 1) before the Spring Special deal (almost 50% off) ends.
This discount won’t last forever. Team Micromobility is in Berlin this week and it’s already starting to feel a lot like summer 🌞
What You Need to Know This Week
With San Francisco seeking new dockless bike-share operators, Lyft threatens a legal challenge over an exclusivity agreement to operate the Ford GoBike program. | SF Chronicle
Big week for Flash. The Berlin-based micromobility company rebranded itself as Circ, revealed that it had hit 1 million rides in 4.5 months since launch, and acquired the Spanish scooter rental startup Koko. | TechCrunch
… meanwhile, Circ’s hometown rival Tier unveiled a hard-wearing new e-scooter that is designed to last at least 12 months in operations. The company also announced it had hit 2 million rides. | TechCrunch
After one of its scooters caught fire in D.C. last week, Skip suspended service in the U.S. capitol as well as San Francisco. The company has investigated the incident and will re-deploy its fleet this week. | SF Examiner
According to a new study, separated bike lanes make cities safer not just for cyclists but for drivers as well. | StreetsBlog
California needs to reduce its vehicle miles traveled. EVs aren’t helping. | Curbed
At Uber, micromobility services and Uber Eats are growing faster than the core ride-hailing business. | TechCrunch
You know the two-sided digital display ads on top of old-school taxis? A new startup has raised $30 million to put them on Ubers and Lyfts. | Venturebeat
Bird has unveiled a two-seater, moped-style electric bike, the Bird Cruiser, which is rumored to be a collab with Juiced Bikes. | CNET
Electric cargo bikes are replacing delivery vans in London. | Forbes
Is consolidation coming to the crowded scooter market? Word on the street is that Bird will acquire Scoot. The move would make sense for a number of reasons, most notably, Bird does not operate on-demand scooter service in any of Scoot’s markets, including San Francisco and Barcelona. | TechCrunch
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