Three US startups – Bird, Lime and Spin – have all recently rolled out self-service electric scooters in the United States, having raised pretty substantial amounts of capital in order to do so. According to the business information platform Crunchbase, Bird has attracted $415 million and Lime has raised funds totalling $467 million, while Spin has brought in $8 million. All three companies have set out to win the hearts and minds of US city-dwellers with their urban mobility solution. In the wake of what some people have called Scootergeddon, and the revolt in San Francisco, mobility analytics specialist site Populus carried out a survey to track the progress of this new form of transport in other US cities and assess the current level of adoption. A Populus report published a few days ago provides an answer: e-scooters have amassed as many adopters in 12 months as car-sharing programs such as Zipcar and Car2Go did in 12 years. On average, 70% of residents surveyed in eleven major US cities expressed a favorable opinion of the electric two-wheelers, regarding them as a convenient way to get around without the hassle of an automobile, a good alternative to a car for short journeys or a useful supplement to available public transport. Scooter-lovers come with various different profiles: 72% of the women polled like electric scooters, compared with 67% of the men; as do 72% of those who earn less than $25,000 a year and also 69% of those who earn between $50,000 and $100,000. The least impressed appear to be people with the highest incomes, those who earn over $200,000 a year, though even among this group there is a clear majority (64%) with a positive view of this alternative transport solution. Is income in fact the main factor determining that only 52% of those polled in San Francisco thought that self-service electric scooters were a useful thing to have? Time will tell. And who knows, the Golden Gate Bridge City residents might well change their minds once the scooter startups have obtained the necessary authorizations to run their alternative mode of transport.
By Sophia Qadiri