The summer of 2018 BIRD’s flew in and invaded Atlanta one neighborhood at a time. One month later LIME’s appeared. We’ve all seen them whizzing across crosswalks and littering sidewalks. These scooters are cheerful, aggravating, dangerous and more importantly; unstoppable. It appears the e-scooter culture isn’t going anywhere anytime soon as Uber just announced their version of the e-scooter (JUMP) and two days later Lyft declared they will be joining the scooter movement. Uber has been giving out free rides which costs 5 cents less per minute than competitors in hopes to establish credibility after starting a little late in the game.
How is Atlanta dealing with the scooters?
Early May of 2018 200 scooters were dropped off around Midtown, Downtown, West End and Old Fourth Ward, with little to no heads up. Within a couple months hundreds more were added. Thanks to Atlanta’s rapid growth and development this city is the second largest scooter city after San Diego. There have been some issues, however, regarding the safety of these vessels. Scooters are not allowed on sidewalks, however in the car-heavy designed city of Atlanta there isn’t room on the road. Bird has previously pledged to pay $1 per scooter, per day, to the government to help build permanent bike lanes. Recently taking place at a City Council committee meeting an ordinance was discussed for setting up specific rules for where scooters can be ridden, parked and implement permits that would give thousands of dollars to the City of Atlanta. The current legislation which would be set to go into effect Jan. 1 states there would be an annual fee of $12,000 for a company to operate 500 scooters and $50 for each additional one.
Who will win the war?
Uber seems like the feasible choice to most, but why? Uber invested in Lime, $335 million to be exact, and this is likely their first step towards acquisition. Uber has a vision for becoming a one stop shop for all transportation needs and sprinkling scooters on their already popular mobile app may be the icing on the cake. With more capital to burn and knowledge on how to negotiate with cities and regulators, Uber is well equipped to come out on top. Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden said in a recent statement “Bird is not for sale.” The company is currently worth $2 billion with no signs of slowing down and seemingly ready to compete with the Uber giant. Bird is the #1 scooter with the highest brand awareness and Lime coming in at #2. Both can be found in most cities while Uber and Lyft are in only one or two. The competition comes down to one thing; availability.
May the best scooter win.