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Transportation

It’s Not Too Late to Turn the Electric Scooter Industry Around

Micromobility companies like Bird and Lime have laid-off workers, left markets, and scrapped vehicles in recent months. But these two industry insiders see a way forward for more-sustainable shared transportation. 

Bloomberg business news
Electric Scooter Startups Struggle During Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has served up a cruel paradox for the micromobility industry: Even as urban residents need more socially distant ways to get around, the companies offering shared bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters have laid off staff and abruptly pulled out of markets. Since 2020 began, companies like Lime, Bird and JUMP have shed upwards of 1,000 jobs and scrapped several thousand e-bikes and scooters, all at a time when two-wheel transport is being called a critical lifeline. Little wonder that many transport officials and mobility enthusiasts are now questioning if shared micromobility in its current venture-capital-funded form is truly a sustainable solution worth supporting.

Having served as sustainability directors at two of the leading micromobility companies, Bird (Melinda) and Lime (Alison), we’re familiar with the processes and pressures that drive these business decisions. Indeed, both of our roles — along with a variety of public policy and community engagement positions — were eliminated earlier this spring. But we still strongly believe that shared micromobility has the potential to dramatically reduce car trips, shrink carbon emissions and improve transport equity.