we talk about bird scooters yet?

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Postby kit fox » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:10 am

I guess these are commonplace in some areas? I just found out about them. We don't have them where I live. For the others unaware, they're rentable electric scooters that you just ditch wherever you end up going and then at night "bird chargers" come and pick them up, recharge them in their homes, and return them to "birds nests" in the morning for people to pick up and rent them again? this seems insane



https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/charging-electric-scooters-is-a-cutthroat-business/560747/

there's even what appears to be an unofficial facebook group for chargers that was a strange trip i didn't expect to take tonight:
https://www.facebook.com/BirdChargers/

anyway. would you do this? seems like it could be an interesting way to make a little cash if you don't think about all the implications too hard
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Postby kid8 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:15 am

Yup, I live right in between two prime neighborhood boulevards that use these. They're fun as fuck and practical. They just passed a law saying u gotta wear helmets tho, which sucks.
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Postby kit fox » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:27 am

you ever go hunt for em? seems like kind of a hassle but maybe not if you time it right
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Postby ratbags » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:28 am

scooters are stupid
session to session
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Postby antoine » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:30 am

so like segways but dumber?
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Postby kit fox » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:31 am

segway x hunger games
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Postby antoine » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:33 am

so you can get a job being a treasure hunter but the treasure is scooters? the world is so weird right now.
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Postby kit fox » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:38 am

yeah thats a good way to put it
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Postby death is my amigo » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:39 am

there's a thread but why not

on one hand i'd be for anything that reduces car usage but i do feel like bird has a long way to go before that'll be the case. this feels more to me like another case of silicon valley stepping in into a regulatory grey area and handwaving it away with a cape that says innovation than a genuine attempt to help solve the problem of public underinvestment in transit. it sounds strange to say for scooters as opposed to, like, factories that spew out filth, but i think there's a real problem with negative externality - the offloading onto the public of storage in addition to, more pressingly, the safety concerns (do they belong on the sidewalk or street? sidewalk seems dangeous given their capacity, if it's the street why don't they need to be licensed?). admittedly a lot of this impression comes from a city council hearing on bird scooters i happened to hear one night as i was driving

i feel like in the long run if this works it ends up involve a high level of public partnership anyways. positively i can envision higher public demand for bike/scooter lanes. i guess any possibility this ends up going that path is positive, so maybe these are cool? but i don't get the sense bird is interested in that and thinking that way
so
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Postby kit fox » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:41 am

no i dont think they are either. they say their model of bounty hunting retrieval and recharging is “fun!”
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Postby Milk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:25 am

bring them here, id be thrilled just making 50$ a night so never mind 600$.


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Postby Milk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:28 am

at 600$ a night, i'd do this 17.5 nights a year and equal my yearly income. Well in canadian, otherwise it would be much less than 17.
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Postby all day breakfast » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:07 am

how much juice do they need to charge? seems like a good way to get a massive bill
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Postby Prof. Horatio Hufnagel » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:05 am

can't imagine it's much, my dad has a decent electric bike and it costs pennies to charge
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Postby shankly » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:08 am

anecdotally, it does seem like these replace walking more than short car trips, but i don't want hayes davenport to yell at me on twitter about it

i'm all for alternative modes of transportation & getting cars off the roads, but i don't think these VC-backed scooter/bike startups are viable in the long term unless they get the support of/investment from municipal governments, and even then those resources would be better allocated toward maintaining/expanding existing public transit services like buses and trains
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Postby powderfinger » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:14 am

The daytime side of this business seems alright to me. Good even, once the kinks are worked out. But the idea of scooter bounty hunters racing around the city at night to collect and charge them, probably for a pittance, is dystopian.
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Postby morris buttermaker » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:22 am

been seeing these all over. seems crazy that you just drop them like a kid leaving their bike in the front yard for someone to pickup when you're done.
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Postby delgriffith » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:27 am

shankly wrote:anecdotally, it does seem like these replace walking more than short car trips, but i don't want hayes davenport to yell at me on twitter about it

i'm all for alternative modes of transportation & getting cars off the roads, but i don't think these VC-backed scooter/bike startups are viable in the long term unless they get the support of/investment from municipal governments, and even then those resources would be better allocated toward maintaining/expanding existing public transit services like buses and trains

This article (from Alissa Walker, who was recently on the LA Podcast w/ Hayes) framed this stuff pretty well, I thought: https://www.curbed.com/word-on-the-street/2018/5/3/17312390/transportation-scooters-bird-spin-lime-san-francisco
Decreasing short car trips is the big promise that the U.S.’s nascent electric scooter-share industry is making. “Our goal is to replace as many of those trips as possible, so we can get cars off the road and curb traffic and greenhouse gas emissions,” Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird, said in a statement.

This is apparently why the scooters must roam free, so they can be more widely dispersed over a geographic area. Untethered scooters, the companies argue, can make their way deeper into neighborhoods not served by public transit. Last month, Bird released data that claimed its users had taken one million trips; the average trip was 1.5 miles. Last year, 35 percent of U.S. vehicle trips were two miles or less.


In the last year, the concept of the “last mile” has become imbued with new meaning for me because it’s literally about how long my daughter can comfortably walk before she starts inquiring about the availability of piggyback rides. I can and will walk a mile to and from my local train station—it takes me about 20 minutes—but I’ve been increasingly thinking about those who can’t.

Last-mile solutions are not necessarily new. From the walker my neighbor uses to get to the bus stop, to the shopping carts commandeered to push heavy water jugs home from the corner store, these are traditional ways of getting around cities which, for the most part, have not necessarily been “disrupted” by the tech world.

In fact, the solutions to most of these types of mobility challenges have involved more cars. And the track record for equity here is not good. Uber—where Bird’s VanderZanden was head of growth—has been sued by disability groups and only offers Uber Family, a service with a car seat that allows parents to travel with kids, in a handful of cities, for a $10 surcharge.
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Postby an otter » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:51 am

some weird hostility towards these things in this thread. this seems like a sick vehicle-share idea
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Postby jack » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:58 am

its illegal to ride these here without a helmet. the cops have been setting up "bird traps" and giving out $300 tickets to people who ride without one, which is literally everyone.
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Postby shankly » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:58 am

i think the sentiments in that piece are good--especially with regard to eventual accommodations for parents with children, seniors, and people with disabilities--i'm just doubtful of profit-driven companies making good on actually supporting niche populations when they could easily continue flooding sidewalks with cheap, low-utility scooters for tourists and kids to dick around on.

given the track records of every city i've ever lived in, i know there's no reason to think a municipal transit authority would be any better in running a fleet of last-mile vehicles than tech companies, but i do think governments have the ability to engage with communities, solicit feedback, and provide some degree of transparency and accountability in ways that silicon valley has no interest in.

basically, if these things are the future of urban transportation (and that would be great!), i have a feeling it will be in spite of the current scooter companies and not because of them.
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Postby delgriffith » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:02 am

Yeah, definitely agree with that.
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Postby Sobieski » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:04 am

It's like they're trying to change the world into a gigantic version of MTurk
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Postby dan » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:07 am

thought this was gonna be like Image and now I'm pretty pissed
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Postby delgriffith » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:13 am

dan wrote:thought this was gonna be like Image and now I'm pretty pissed

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Postby kit fox » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:22 am

an otter wrote:some weird hostility towards these things in this thread. this seems like a sick vehicle-share idea



sure, except for the part where they're relying on underpaid "independent contractors" to find/charge/repair them at night with poorly thought out guidelines and support
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Postby Grumby » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:22 am

bird up
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Postby new blood, old hat » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:34 am

Easily accessible, low impact transportation is great. More options the better. Not everyone can ride a bike, especially in extreme weather or difficult terrain

Car loving drivers/regulators/cops plus precarious gig economy labor stuff is a red flag, but some of those issues seem specific to California.

People should push their local governments to get involved with these projects. It seems it's either an irresponsible hands off approach or highly combative elite/industry backed push back approach that city councils take. Not good enough!
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Postby new blood, old hat » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:35 am

Like city government should ally with projects like this to fight Uber, but most city governments don't realize or care how bad Uber is
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Postby shankly » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:39 am

new blood, old hat wrote:Like city government should ally with projects like this to fight Uber, but most city governments don't realize or care how bad Uber is


a lot of these companies are either directly funded by Uber/Lyft or by the VC firms that give them money. that's why it's hard for me to take their "we're looking out for the public good!" statements seriously.
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