Well, we know that they tried this in China, and 10s of thousands, or more, of the rental bikes were just hauled off to junkyards.
Now city streets here in San Diego are dotted with these rental electric scooters, and the bike companies, like dotcoms 20 years ago, are in full swing to risk it all as long as it's investors money, to try and make a buck
A lot of homeless have been using the bikes, I'm not sure if they are using them legit, or after breaking the locks that force a rider to scan, pay, etc. One homeless guy told me they were simple to break. That's a damn shame... I'd hope that even the homeless get a break and can ride free bikes, but, where the hell exactly are free bikes going to come from? Someone has to pay for them. Anyway, if you look around San Diego, these are getting a lot of use
Interesting side note though, for the scooters, that need to be recharged every 12 miles or so, the Bird company (scooter company) definitely got off to a fast start before having all it's process figured out, and now finds that it needs to hire people to go get the scooters and charge them https://www.chargers.bird.co/join but whether or not that covers your electric bill to charge them is another matter.
"When picking up a scooter, chargers are supposed to “capture” it via a button on the app. Doing this deletes the flag so others don’t waste time scouting for that particular Bird. It also stops the clock on the reimbursement meter.
Although a small percentage of scooters run out of juice early in the day, the majority only become available after 9 p.m., when the rental network shuts down for the night. At that point, you have to dash out, grab them, and ride or drive them home. Once you plug them in, they take about 3–4 hours to recharge, and then you have to get them back on the street in nearby Nests (designated drop-off sites, of which there are hundreds) before 7 a.m. to get paid the full value of each Bird. In practice, this means that after an hour of searching in the dark, you have to get up early the next day to complete the job and get paid.
Duplicitous collectors have created a thriving ecosystem of stockpiling, hiding, and decoying that makes it well-nigh impossible to find a scooter in need of charging because the longer a scooter goes without being captured, the greater the commission Bird will pay its chargers.
Most Birds are worth $5 to charge, ones that had been AWOL for a while are progressively more valuable, up to $20.
Update: Bird sent an email to Chargers announcing that after receiving “feedback about the good, the bad, and the not-so-great parts about being a Charger,” it will now require that a Charger “capture” a Bird before moving it. If Chargers move the Birds first, they may be blocked from capturing them.
They should have planned ahead, built solar charging stations, and made the whole issue a sidebar problem of just getting the scooters at the stations, instead of the "where ever it may be, where ever it was left" current thing. Yeah, it's an interactive map on your phone, once you've downloaded the app.... but, you don't find out how much charge is left until you find a scooter, scan it, and the app tells you how much juice it has."
Why the hell didn't they put in a battery life indicator panel?
So far, these rental scooters are in Venice, Santa Monica, Westwood, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Pacific Beach, San Jose, San Diego, Washington D.C, Austin, and Dallas
I'm going to give these a try... though, I never did try those little rental smart cars, Car2Go. They lasted about a year or two before disappearing, and were made obsolete by Uber and Lyft.
Strange how fast new things become obsolete