Shocker: Cities are figuring out scooter clutter

This week, Tier finds a way to make money off retired scooters, moped fever keeps on burning, and your Amazon delivery is blocking the bike lane, but first…

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Mark Your Calendars

Join Twilio and Lime for a webinar diving into the challenges and strategies for scaling a micromobility company.

In this webinar, Lime’s tech lead manager, Dr. Mu Qiao, will discuss the biggest connectivity challenges they faced and how they overcame them. He will also share how they leveraged Twilio’s IoT connectivity platform to rapidly launch their scooters in more than 120 cities across 30 countries.

The 30-minute webinar will take place on November 14 at 10AM PST (1PM EST).

Click here to register.

The Self-Driving Scooter Hot Takes Are Coming

Perhaps you’ve heard of Tortoise, the microautonomous startup that recently came out of stealth mode led by a former Uber exec. (Visitors to Micromobility Europe got an early demo of the company’s teleoperating system, which can be retrofitted onto existing scooters.)

In the past few weeks, the noise surrounding Tortoise has crescendoed into a deafening roar, with major media outlets churning out breathless coverage envisioning the cities of tomorrow teeming with Jetsons-style robot scooters.

As usual, if you want to cut through the hype and really under the implications of this new technology, your best bet is Oliver Bruce.

In the latest episode of the podcast, Oliver talks with Tortoise CEO Dmitry Shevelenko about the potential for self-driving scooters to clear clutter, improve unit economics, and unlock the suburbs for shared micromobility.

Listen here.

What You Need to Know This Week

  • Leading off, Swiftmile has landed a contract with the city of Austin to install its first public system for parking and charging ebikes and scooters. The company plans to put in 10 stations with a total of 80 parking slips by the end of the year. To start, all seven of Austin’s current operators will be able to use the docking system for charging. Then, “after a certain period of time,” Swiftmile will charge just its customers’ devices, allowing non-customers only to park. | TechCrunch

  • Related: Los Angeles meanwhile is looking at parking corrals and geofencing as possible solutions to scooter clutter. | Daily News

  • Tier is selling refurbished shared scooters directly to consumers in Germany. The Berlin-based operator is hoping to make a business out of fleet turnover as it phases out existing models in favor of newer ones with swappable batteries. For €699, customers get a fixed-up, four-month-old ES200G scooter, along with a charger, helmet, and one-year warranty. The question is, will people buy used fleet models when a brand-new scooter designed for personal use can cost the same or less? | MarketWatch

  • Last week Harley Davidson suspended work on its first electric motorcycle due to a problem with the charging equipment. Now the company says the issue has been resolved and its battery-powered hogs are back in production. | Journal Sentinel

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  • Cars are getting safer… but only for the people inside of them. In 2018, U.S. traffic-related deaths fell 2.4%, while pedestrian fatalities increased 3.4% and cyclist fatalities increased 6.3%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. | Bicycling

  • Uber is partnering with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to operate taxi service from dedicated pick-up and drop-off spots at 210 metro stations in the Indian capital. The American ride-hailing giant will also integrate the city’s public transit options into its app. | Hindustan Times

  • According to a new Lime survey, almost one third of scooter trips taken in Brookline, Massachusetts, since April replaced car trips. | Curbed

  • With scooters still outlawed in the U.K., Jump reports it surpassed 60,000 rides after five months of operating with just a few hundred ebikes in London. | Evening Standard

  • Related: Jump has landed in the Dutch city of Rotterdam with 500 ebikes. | Silicon Canals

  • Bird-owned Scoot has launched the Scoot Moped in Los Angeles. The modal, which straddles the increasingly blurry line between ebike and moped, is based on the Bird Cruiser with a few key differences. Most notably Scoot’s version seats only one rider instead of the Cruiser’s two. Word has it that the Scoot Moped will be coming to more cities before the end of the year. | TechCrunch

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  • The Indian motorbike-taxi service app Rapido has raised $55 million in Series B funding in a round led by Shunwei Capital. The company plans to scale its service from 13 cities to 100 within the next year. | Deal Street

  • France enacted new regulations for electric scooters, including banning riding on the sidewalk, requiring helmets and hi-vis clothing on fast roads, and capping the speed limit at 15.5 mph (25 kph) by next July. | BBC

  • New York City is expected to pass a bill requiring 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of dedicated bus lanes to be built over a five-year period. | Gothamist

  • Related: Last year, UPS and Fedex accumulated 471,000 parking violations in New York City—an increase of 34% from 2013—fueled largely by the explosion of e-commerce. | NYT

  • The number of trips using shared-mobility devices in San Diego plummeted almost 50% between July and October. While the changing seasons probably didn’t help, scooter operators are pointing the finger squarely at the city’s new impound-everything-that-moves policy. The mayor plans to propose a regulation-reform package next month. | Union Tribune

  • The global ebike market reached $15 billion last year and is expected to continue to grow 6.4% a year for the next five years, according to a new study. | Mordor Intelligence

  • Blue Duck, a San Antonio–based scooter operator that is focused on the Southern U.S. market, has raised $4.2 million in Series C funding. The company recently announced that it is integrating Acton M-Pro scooters into its fleet and operating them on the Joyride platform. | Blue Duck

  • Cities should be supporting micromobility operators as a viable alternative to cars. That means raising vehicle caps, beefing up infrastructure, and—yes—exploring subsidies, which the majority of other transportation services receive. | Forbes

  • Boaz Bikes has deployed 100 sit-down scooters with swappable batteries in Atlanta. Additionally, the Dallas-based startup plans to move its HQ to Atlanta in 2020. | Business Chronicle

  • Lime’s global head of operations and strategy says “our goal is to add more modes. I love the scooter but the scooter isn’t perfect for everything.” The company has been gradually pivoting away from bikes for some time and last month it killed its car-sharing program, so what this means is anyone’s guess. | Alan Ohnsman

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