Published on October 3rd, 2018 | by Kyle Field0
Uber Rolls Into Santa Monica, California, With Yet Another Scooter Sharing Service
October 3rd, 2018 by Kyle Field
Uber is rolling out its new scooter sharing service in Santa Monica, California, today with a free trial to lure riders in and away from incumbents Lime and Bird. We previously reported that Uber had tapped its in-house experts at recently acquired Jump Bikes in San Francisco to build a fleet of scooters for its scooter sharing service and just a few weeks later, we’re seeing the first vehicles being sent out into the wild.
The Jump / Uber scooter 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Cz9uLkviJu
— Jelle Prins (@jelleprins) October 3, 2018
Scooter sharing services have been controversial in the year plus of their existence, as service operators have turned to flooding city streets with the affordable scooters in a push to increase availability and gobble up market share from early adopters. The move prompted backlash around the world as residents complained about the haphazard deployment of the park-anywhere scooters.
Santa Monica specifically has been a hotbed for the scooter debate as the city pushed back on early movers Bird and Lime with a formal decision to pilot scooter sharing as a means of developing a set of standards for scooter sharing services in the city. Initially, the city selected Lyft and Uber as the sole participants in the pilot, leaving the only two services actually operating a scooter sharing service, Bird and Lime, out in the cold. That didn’t go over so well and after some arm wrestling, the pilot was expanded to include Bird and Lime.
As of today, Uber is moving into Santa Monica with its offerings as the third player in the space alongside Bird and Lime. It is offering up the service for free until October 7th as a way of luring in new riders. On the 7th, the service will revert to the normal rate of $1 to unlock the scooter and $.15 per minute. Uber’s model requires that riders leave the scooters in designated parking zones at the end of their trip or be hit with a $25 fine per instance.
In our testing of Bird’s scooters in Los Angeles, which have a similar pricing model, a ride of around 3/4 of a mile around the block was just under $2 bucks. All of the scooters used by Uber, Lyft, Bird, Lime and a few of the other scooter sharing companies are built by Segway’s Beijing-based parent company, Ninebot. That begs the question of whether having 4 different companies vie for market share with what is essentially the same platform adds any value to the end user.
Time will tell how regulators ultimately ban, integrate, or implement electric scooters and whatever other personal electric vehicles the future has in store for us. For today, scooters continue to be the face of personal electric vehicles out in the wild as entrepreneurs and tech companies race to define the ultimate form factor for riders, cities and the like.
Whatever the form factor ends up looking like, integration with the city transit network seems like a very healthy low bar for cities to mandate. In the case of Uber’s new scooters, they could be integrated with the standard city transit payment system, like the TAP card in Santa Monica or the Oyster card in London. As a special bonus, transit authorities could offer a free 15-minute scooter ride as a form of a transfer from a bus or rail ride.
The future is ripe with opportunity when it comes to clean technologies and electric vehicles.
Source: The Verge