Postmortem Reveals What Went Wrong for Chinese Bike-Share

This week, winners emerge in D.C.’s war for permits, a mobility Unicorn dies, and the total U.S. scooter tariffs for 2019 are tallied, but first…


Pump the Brakes!

Early Bird is nearly over.

At midnight tomorrow, Dec. 11, the $295/ticket Early Bird special for Micromobility America will end and prices will go up.

But! If you book now—like, right now—you can still save over $650 off the General Admission price. That means you pay two-thirds as much as those who wait, for the exact same thing.

It’s a no-brainer. If you haven’t reserved your spot at the California summit already, now is the time.

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Learn more about Micromobility America, taking place in the Bay Area on April 22 & 23, here.

In Pod News…


In a new episode the podcast, Oliver Bruce talks to Wunder Mobility COO Sam Baker about the future of MaaS platforms and digitizing the 99% of transport operators that aren’t Uber, Lyft, Lime, or Bird.

Listen here.

What You Need to Know This Week

  • Leading off, China’s bike-sharing industry collapsed due to weak intellectual property rights and overeager investors, according to a new postmortem. “Investors drove [bike sharing start-ups] to grow faster and quicker than their competitors, to move to more cities and places, to lay out more bikes without even calculating breakeven points.” | Fortune

  • New York City is piloting a program to replace delivery vans and trucks with electric cargo bikes. To start, Amazon, DHL, and UPS will be allowed to operate up to 100 bikes and park them in the commercial loading areas that are typically reserved for motor vehicles. | NYT

  • Sidebar: Maybe UPS can thank NYC by paying the more than $6 million in parking fines it wriggled out of last year. | IBO NYC

  • Also New York’s decision on electric cargo bikes begs the question: Why is the city still policing immigrant delivery workers for using throttle ebikes? | Gothamist

  • German manufacturer Kumpan has acquired Scrooser, a big-wheeled emoped maker. | Electrek

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  • The city of Washington, D.C. awarded permits to Jump, Spin, Lyft, and Skip to deploy a combined total of 10,000 scooters. It also granted Jump and Helbiz permission to launch a combined total of 5,000 ebikes. Bird, Lime, Bolt, and Razor, the city’s four other shared micromobility providers, will no longer be allowed to operate. | WaPo

  • Studies shows men are twice as likely as women to say they’ve used a micromobility vehicle for a trip. Experts including Horace Dediu explore how different vehicle types could help fix the gender gap. | City Lab

  • Yet another safety-conscious scooter startup is offering riders a discount in return for helmet selfies. This week the operator in question is Europe’s Circ. | Circ

  • Circ is also toying with a subscription model in Portugal. Users can choose between two monthly plans: $27 for 30 minutes of use a day or $54 for one hour a day. | Trendy

  • A new research report by moped maker Unu breaks down the cost structure of moped sharing. | Unu

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  • Scooter rental platform Neuron Mobility has raised $18.5 million in a Series A round led by GSR Ventures. The Singapore-based startup, which is active across the APAC region, plans to use the new funds to continue its overseas expansion. | TechCrunch

  • Part of the reason Neuron may be thinking international is that its hometown has been cracking down hard on scooters. Singapore announced this week it will require people to pass a theory test before they can legally ride a scooter. | CNA

  • However Singapore’s bike-sharing is actually making a comeback after several dramatic exits last year. Three homegrown startups, SG Bike, Anywheel, and Moov Mobility, have been given permission to deploy a combined total of 45,000 bikes. | CNA

  • Vancouver mobility startup Damon has teased its first electric motorcycle. | TechCrunch

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  • Remember those ebikes that Lyft pulled from NYC this past spring because of faulty brakes? Apparently they have resurfaced in Chicago, stripped of their electric parts, as regular pedal bikes. A Lyft spokesperson says they are now safe to use. | NY Daily News

  • In San Francisco, Bird has laid off less than two dozen employees who were brought onboard as part of its acquisition of Scoot earlier this year. | SF Chronicle

  • Texas-based scooter startup Blue Duck has announced a partnership to pilot a new “centimeter-level” GPS positioning technology from the Irish mobility consortium Luna. The tests will be conducted on the private roads of Dublin City University’s campus because scooters are still illegal to use on public streets in Ireland. | Irish Times

  • DTC scooter startup Unicorn is shutting down without fulfilling any orders or offering any refunds. | The Verge

  • Superpedestrian’s much-anticipated hardware solution will come equipped with Joyride’s network software when it arrives in January. | Joyride

  • According to a study by the Seattle Department of Transportation, one-third of Jump bikes and two-thirds of Lime bikes were inoperable this summer due to broken parts or low batteries. Despite this poor service, the city’s dockless bike-share program hit record-high ridership of 750,000 trips between July and September. | Seattle Times

  • Ending a six-month scooter ban, Milan has awarded permits to three providers, Helbiz, Bit Mobility, and Wind, to deploy up to 750 vehicles each. | Milano Today

  • Tariffs on Chinese-made scooters cost U.S. importers $73 million in 2019. Lime, which started stockpiling scooters before the duties went into effect, is now considering moving some of its manufacturing from China to Southeast Asia. | Seattle Times

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