A new company called Bird Rides is taking over the streets of big US cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. Bird Rides lets customers rent electric scooters for $1 plus 10 to 15 cents per minute. The scooters are called “Birds.” People who use this service, rent the scooters to get from one place to another, rather than for fun.  

Normally, when you rent something, you have to return it to a specific place. However, these scooters can be left anywhere in the street. Then, people called “Chargers” will go around the city finding the scooters and re-charging them for the next user. This free-for-all has caused problems with city government. Officials say that thousands of scooters just appeared in the streets overnight.

While some people are loving the rides, others are not so happy about it. They say that it’s dangerous for thousands of scooters to be whizzing around at 15 miles per hour on sidewalks.

“They just appeared,” said Mohammed Nuru, the director of Public Works in San Francisco. “I don’t know who comes up with these ideas or where these people come from.”

Bird Rides isn’t the only company of its kind. It has at least two competitors: Spin and LimeBike.

Some cities have filed charges against scooter companies for not following city business rules. But this has not discouraged the companies from continuing to grow. Bird Rides, for example, has reached 1 million scooter rides. It also has raised $250 million in venture capital.

The founder of Bird Rides, Travis VanderZanden, has worked for both Lyft and Uber as a top executive. He believes that scooters are the future of transportation. He says that he will not be happy until “there are more Birds than cars.”


Source: New York Times