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LanghamP

I signed up as a Bird recharger.

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I feel this is about 1/2 step up from collecting aluminum cans (which, by the way, are never recycled). However, since eScooters litter the sidewalk out in front of my apartment, I figure I can just grab a few each night, recharge them, clean them up, adjust their brakes (they all have maladjusted brakes), then stick them back outside.

I just wonder, though, if it'd be a healthier society to simply dictate everyone must recharge and fix the eScooters that they saw in front of their places. Maybe just one or two per day. Maybe it's just me, but I can envision our streets mostly empty of private vehicles, with a few delivery trucks, but mostly empty except for eScooters and eBikes and EUCs. No parked cars, so now we have four lane roads everywhere.

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These things don't solve anything.

They pollute the city, being all over the place and especially where they are blocking pedestrians, and the people using them would either walk or use public transportation if it didn't exist. It hardly reduces the amount of cars in the city. And for some reason people using these things ride like idiots.

3 hours ago, LanghamP said:

I just wonder, though, if it'd be a healthier society to simply dictate everyone must recharge and fix the eScooters that they saw in front of their places

Or maybe the companies responsible for this mess could take care of their own stuff?

 

TBH I don't know how long this is going to continue. The public backlash gets worse and worse, some governments are also starting to realise that this "far west" style of doing things isn't working and that traffic isn't getting reduced with these, if you see how worn out ones are dumped (and not recycled) by those companies, how short their lifespan is (sustainability anyone?) and the fact that they are burning billions of dollars and there is no positive cashflow in sight makes me think this will not be something that will live on for the long term.

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2 hours ago, ir_fuel said:

These things don't solve anything.

They pollute the city, being all over the place and especially where they are blocking pedestrians, and the people using them would either walk or use public transportation if it didn't exist. It hardly reduces the amount of cars in the city. And for some reason people using these things ride like idiots.

This article by Vox about eScooters touches a fair number of points you make.

Do they take away from pedestrians and bicyclists or do they take drivers off the road? That's the big question.

We know, absolutely, that Lyft and Uber take away only from public transportation while increasing traffic congestion between 10 to 40 % in the cities they are in, but what about eScooters?

What is interesting is that I notice a great number of them of being ridden by poor black people, because St Louis (wisely) required that eScooters be made free to poor people. And that's interesting, because from just random talks to people on eScooters at lights, they call them lifesavers.

Lifesavers.

Let's think about that word for a second...lifesaver.

So these eScooters, which you do not like, don't want them around, and call them pollution, seem well liked by poor people. Although it also seems people of all walks of life enjoy them a lot.

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3 hours ago, LanghamP said:

Although it also seems people of all walks of life enjoy them a lot.

https://www.instagram.com/birdgraveyard/?hl=en

3 hours ago, LanghamP said:

Do they take away from pedestrians and bicyclists or do they take drivers off the road? That's the big question

They do not take drivers of the road and they are annoying to pedestrians because they block the sidewalk. I've seen it again a couple of weeks ago in Brussels. One of the busiest streets. Bike lane and sidewalk are separated, but the sidewalk is littered with e-scooters. And not from people dropping them there, no you can clearly see they were parked like that by the people that place them, because there were multiple "packs" nicely lined up. The result? People have to walk on the cycling path to avoid them. Really great when most pedestrians just wander around without really looking what they do, and you have a cycling path were a lot of people cycle.

And that's just one example.

The entire fact that they are dockless is a disaster.

And what you say about poor people can be nice, but those are not the people that left their car at home to use on of these. And that "for free for poor people" doesn't exist where I live.

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7 hours ago, ir_fuel said:

They do not take drivers of the road 

Is this really the case?

Here's an argument that they take drivers out of cars:

E-scooters are replacing automobile trips. Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 34 percent of Portlanders said they would have driven a personal car (19 percent) or hailed a taxi, Uber or Lyft (15 percent).

The auto trip replacement numbers are even higher among tourists and visitors (48 percent). Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 34 percent of visitors would have taken a taxi, Uber or Lyft, and 14 percent would have driven a personal vehicle had e-scooters not been available.

And here's two counterarguments against eScooters.

CO2 emissions from eScooters is high.

Dockless scooters need to be collected and transported (usually by car or van) to where they can be recharged overnight before being transported again by car or van to their starting location the next morning.
Not only that, but the individual customer decision is rarely just between driving a car and riding an electric scooter. In cities with these dockless scooter programs, travelers will almost always have  the additional options to ride a bike, hop on public transportation, or even walk– all of which would be more environmentally friendly
.

Anecdotally, eScooters take away from bicycles.

Borelli, 43, has 29 percent ownership of a bike rental shop in the neighborhood, just off the boardwalk. The first time he saw dockless e-scooters, around February or March of last year, they were brazenly left outside his store.

Bird, Lime, and their supporters believe that dockless electric scooters can help reduce car dependency. But to Borelli, it seemed that the scooter industry was really trying to replace bicycles.

So what gives?

Uncivilized people can't have nice things.

Civilized people would carefully park the eScooters on unused parts of a sidewalk while making sure their local government made sidewalks wide enough to have such spaces. Civilized people would ensure the quality of life for everyone is better at some slight personal sacrifice, in other words destroying expensive property because you think it's ugly and inconvenient is uncivilized. I mean, I dislike escalators a lot because they take up too much space and break down, but do I go around sabotaging them?

Perhaps an ideal society is simply a car and pedestrian only civilization, where we have everyone driving to parking lots, then walking to their destination. Everything else is a perversion that needs to be illegal.

Is the above situation an extreme? Maybe not, because that is the default mode of most US cities, because public transportation has dropped (thanks Uber and Lyft, who pull riders from public transportation) while very few people (less than 3%) bicycle.

Having gas powered vans running around recharging eScooters seems wrong; a civilzed society with dutiful people would simply grab unpowered local eScooters they found near their doorstep and recharge them as matter of course, somewhat like sweeping the public sidewalk in front of your place used to be an expected Civic Duty.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

Is this really the case?

Here's an argument that they take drivers out of cars:

E-scooters are replacing automobile trips. Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 34 percent of Portlanders said they would have driven a personal car (19 percent) or hailed a taxi, Uber or Lyft (15 percent).

The auto trip replacement numbers are even higher among tourists and visitors (48 percent). Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 34 percent of visitors would have taken a taxi, Uber or Lyft, and 14 percent would have driven a personal vehicle had e-scooters not been available.

 

That's a survey vs what they really see on the streets.

"should have" and "would have" don't remove any cars from the street. At least, not where I live.

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4 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

Uncivilized people can't have nice things.

Civilized people would carefully park the eScooters on unused parts of a sidewalk while making sure their local government made sidewalks wide enough to have such spaces. Civilized people would ensure the quality of life for everyone is better at some slight personal sacrifice, in other words destroying expensive property because you think it's ugly and inconvenient is uncivilized. I mean, I dislike escalators a lot because they take up too much space and break down, but do I go around sabotaging them?

If all people were civilized we could remove 70% of all laws and reduce the police force by 50%

4 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

a civilzed society with dutiful people would simply grab unpowered local eScooters they found near their doorstep and recharge them as matter of course, somewhat like sweeping the public sidewalk in front of your place used to be an expected Civic Duty.

You are forgetting that this is not a free public service. Private companies are (trying to) making money on this stuff. Let them clean up their own shit.

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7 minutes ago, ir_fuel said:

You are forgetting that this is not a free public service. Private companies are (trying to) making money on this stuff. Let them clean up their own shit.

Do you hold all private transportation organizations to the same standards? After all, car companies and airliners are very heavily subsidized by governments.

Government subsidies for cars.

Government subsidies for airlines.

While electric cars have subsidies, PEV are taxed.

15 minutes ago, ir_fuel said:

people were civilized we could remove 70% of all laws and reduce the police force by 50%

Why do you seem to have so many uncivilized savages? I lived in Belgium for seven years, and don't recall it needing much law.

Why, Brussels almost feels like a third world country. And this.

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2 hours ago, LanghamP said:

Why do you seem to have so many uncivilized savages? I lived in Belgium for seven years, and don't recall it needing much law.

Uncivilized savages exist in all countries.

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On 7/31/2019 at 11:19 AM, ir_fuel said:

That's a survey vs what they really see on the streets.

"should have" and "would have" don't remove any cars from the street. At least, not where I live.

Interestingly enough CityLab just put out an article about eScooter chargers about exactly what we were postulating.

Surveys show that about one-third of e-scooter rides replace automobile use, while nearly half of scooter users would have walked or biked instead. About 10 percent would have taken public transit, and the remaining 7 percent or 8 percent would not have made the trip at all.

When only one-third of e-scooter rides displace automobile travel, then the use of e-scooters likely increases overall transportation emissions by drawing people away from walking, biking, or taking public transit. However, if e-scooters were to displace car rides half the time, we would expect them to be a net win for the environment on average.

It looks look, so far, eScooters are worse because the chargers usually use vans (I won't, because I'll only grab local ones within close range, with my EUC).

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Gosh, this might be the quickest and easiest $14 I've ever made.

I saw two eScooters two blocks away, got onto my EUC, grabbed them both, and came back. An EUC is crazy effecient (if you can hold two scooters) at getting these eScooters back.

Gosh, everyone should have an EUC and charge these, it's like an excuse to ride an EUC.

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For about two hours work I made $27, which probably will be 20 after paying payroll taxes. Worth it?

It's probably a terrible job for people driving around in very large vehicles which is what 90% of the people I've seen collecting eScooters are doing. I don't think that's sustainable.

However, I did meet a jogger and his soon who were returning two eScooters in the same spot I returned my five scooters; living very close by and just walking around the four blocks of a local neighborhood seems entirely cost-effective, as you would be exercising anyway. Basically grabbing scooters that appear outside your doorstep takes little time or effort.

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Posted (edited)

I gave into temptation and used my hatchback to load 7 scooters located about 1/3 of a mile away, all in a compact space.

From my experience, I simply don't recommend using a vehicle under any circumstances; if you're having to go out of your way to drive a car to the pick up, it's simply dangerous and presumably not worth the risk to reward.

What I had to do what make several questionable u-turns, and then once I found the scooters I had to load them into my car, which is actually a very unpleasant experience. They are heavy and don't fold up.

8 scooters but only three chargers; I ended up dropping some overdue while others weren't fully charged, and having to get up in the middle of the night to switch chargers.

In my opinion, no more than six scooters per day, within walking distance, is optimal for people who are looking at minimal effort. Driving a car to pick them up feels too much like work, dangerous and dirty to boot.

One thing that puzzles me (and @ir_fuel is looking more right) is that I feel the system to charge scooters encourages large pickup trucks while discouraging charging by foot. If they were serious about foot, then unlocked charge scooters wouldn't be limited to 5.00 mph. So if you need to drop off a scooter, you are going no faster than a walking pace. It's twice as fast for me to simply push the scooter with my EUC, or three times as fast to carry the scooter on my EUC, although at 60+ pounds it's hard to lift (but easy to carry).

I would agree that electric scooters aren't sustainable because their infrastructure puts out more pollution than the modes of transportation they replace, that is, recharging with pickups (the primary form of recharging) is far dirtier than the vehicle trips they replace.

I'll keep doing it locally, because it's easy though limited money, but now I wonder if cities should simply ban all of them, them issue an eScooter to every citizen, as that would instantly solve the expensive infrastructure eScooters require.

Finally, maybe eScooters in their present iteration should be entirely banned, because they require great skill to ride safely, a skill most people lack. Seeing them up close, people crash them far far more often than I thought, because the tiny front wheel gets stuck on sidewalk imperfections. The bicycle form factor is far safer.

Edited by LanghamP

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Just wondering, don't you have to pick them up very late and put them back on the street very early? I think I saw there were only like 5 or 6 hours between pickup and drop-off?

On 8/7/2019 at 12:07 AM, LanghamP said:

I saw two eScooters two blocks away, got onto my EUC, grabbed them both, and came back

How do you carry 2 30kg scooters while riding an EUC? Would love to see that :shock2:

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3 hours ago, ir_fuel said:

Just wondering, don't you have to pick them up very late and put them back on the street very early? I think I saw there were only like 5 or 6 hours between pickup and drop-off?

How do you carry 2 30kg scooters while riding an EUC? Would love to see that :shock2:

You pick them up anytime but they must be dropped off before 10 am the next day.

As for the 30 kg in each hand, I admit I had a few drops before figuring it out. The best way is to roll alongside the scooters, steering each with one hand. The most spectacular crash I've had was when I flipped a scooter when I swear I just touched the brakes. It instantly cartwheeled.

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On 7/30/2019 at 11:25 PM, LanghamP said:

I just wonder, though, if it'd be a healthier society to simply dictate everyone must recharge and fix the eScooters that they saw in front of their places.

Fix? That would be a terrible idea. Lots of people have two left hands. You also need parts and practice. Even I'd probably trash the first scooter I'd have to fix.

Recharge? That is an absurd idea, similar to Florida man may lose his house over uncut grass.

 

 

Electric scooters are the responsibility of the company that shares them. They just need to enforce the rules.

We have car sharing and scooters in my city. Scooters are everywhere, while cars are correctly parked.

Why? If you don't park the carsharing car correctly, they'll fine you. :) And if you repeat, they'll ban you.

GPS has a few meters of accuracy. AI can recognize if the scooter was left at the center of the sidewalk. The only problem is the lack of incentive due to lack of laws.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, atdlzpae said:

Fix? That would be a terrible idea. Lots of people have two left hands. You also need parts and practice. Even I'd probably trash the first scooter I'd have to fix.

Recharge? That is an absurd idea, similar to Florida man may lose his house over uncut grass.

 

 

Electric scooters are the responsibility of the company that shares them. They just need to enforce the rules.

We have car sharing and scooters in my city. Scooters are everywhere, while cars are correctly parked.

Why? If you don't park the carsharing car correctly, they'll fine you. :) And if you repeat, they'll ban you.

GPS has a few meters of accuracy. AI can recognize if the scooter was left at the center of the sidewalk. The only problem is the lack of incentive due to lack of laws.

Cars are correctly parked because we devote 1/5 of the land space of cities to car parking. In the US there's 7 unused parking spots for each car on the road, which of course makes sense because we drive from destination to destination.

LA is a beautiful example of what happens when we try to give everyone an automobile; there's too many cars for the amount of road, and there's more road per person than anywhere else. It's a simple geometry problem whose solution is easy...pave over every square meter of LA with pavement.

Could we use parking for other uses? I mean, devote that much parking to scooters and I guarantee you're not going to have them fight for space on th tiny slivers of pavement left for bicyclists and pedestrians.

For instance, yesterday I went to UPS on my bike, and there was no place to lock up my bike despite there being 50 parking spots just for cars. I finally chained it on a fence...but UPS is entirely devoted to car parking service.

The problem with cars is that they poop all over the place, emptying their waste all over our cities and in our lungs, killing millions of us per year and making all of us sick with pollution, and killing a million of us per year directly through collisions. Raise your hand if the Grim Reaper has killed a close friend of family.

Scooters, done right, can mitigate such damage, but while it pains me to admit it,@ir_fuel is probably right about them increasing pollution rather than reducing it. It doesn't have to be that way, but it is because the eScooter recharge infrastructure is almost completely dependent on big pickups picking them up while also taking away from pedestrians and bicyclists trips. That is, eScooters pollute more than if they didn't exist in the first place!

Because the private automobile is so deadly and so expensive, it behoves us to look at alternatives. It logically follows that any alternative mustn't use the private automobile infrastructure to support itself; Lime and Bird just pollute more while sending droves of people to the emergency room, mostly because of their tiny front wheel.

Edited by LanghamP
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There is another example in my city - e-bikes. https://rowermevo.pl/mapa-stacji/

You can rent an e-bike in any station and leave it in any station. While scooters are everywhere, Mevo e-bikes are only at the stations.

No pollution at all, the rechargers just have to visit the stations. :)

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1 hour ago, atdlzpae said:

There is another example in my city - e-bikes. https://rowermevo.pl/mapa-stacji/

You can rent an e-bike in any station and leave it in any station. While scooters are everywhere, Mevo e-bikes are only at the stations.

No pollution at all, the rechargers just have to visit the stations. :)

I couldn't pass through the link, but the disadvantage of docked bikes is that by the time you get to a station you might as well as gone to the bus or train station instead. Last mile transportation needs to get you from station to doorstep (or close enough) instead of station to station.

A better alternative might simply be encouraging the PEV rider to drop off the PEV at a station when the battery is low, while most of the time treating it undocked. The present Lime and Bird isn't sustainable, because those companies lose more money paying people to charge than getting riders to pay.

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7 hours ago, LanghamP said:

I couldn't pass through the link, but the disadvantage of docked bikes is that by the time you get to a station you might as well as gone to the bus or train station instead. Last mile transportation needs to get you from station to doorstep (or close enough) instead of station to station.

We have docked bicycles for a long time in our capital. The problem there is that the docks get crowded in popular places, so you arrive and can't dock yours, because all the slots are taken, and you have to start riding around finding another parking spot for your bike. Car problems all over again :D 

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15 hours ago, ir_fuel said:

We have docked bicycles for a long time in our capital. The problem there is that the docks get crowded in popular places, so you arrive and can't dock yours, because all the slots are taken, and you have to start riding around finding another parking spot for your bike. Car problems all over again :D 

Doubling the number of bike parking spots is trivial compared to doubling the number of car parking spots.

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Oh and they have trucks driving around during the day to redistribute the bikes over all docks :D 

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On 8/11/2019 at 2:30 PM, ir_fuel said:

Oh and they have trucks driving around during the day to redistribute the bikes over all docks :D 

Or the scooters right themselves and drive to the nearest charger...

https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/16/segway-ninebot-e-scooter-drive-itself-to-chargers/

I find it interesting that the purpose of machines is to replace workers so we don't have to pay them. I find myself somewhat sympathetic to Luddites that smash textile machines and such, because if owners and inventors do everything they can to displace workers, then workers doing everything they can to displace owners seems fair.

"Learn to code." Hehe...

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Interestingly, this https://time.com/5648510/uber-lyft-bike-scooter-subsidies/Times article has very specific numbers regarding the economics of eScooters and eBikes. Presumably, eBikes are marginally more expensive than eScooters.

By his math, it costs scooter companies like Bird $2.55 per mile to rent dockless scooters to customers. Before they raised their prices, these companies were generating just $2.43 in revenue per mile, he says, meaning they will eventually have to raise prices to make money.

I actually don't see them raising prices, but rather lowering costs. I've noticed in the short time I've gigged for Bird, they've dramatically reduced payment for charging their scooters, from about 6 to 3 dollars. I've occasionally seen 6-7 dollar scooters, but usually those are stuck somewhere on someone's private property or just broken down (picking up a broken scooter means you have to drive quite a distance to a fix it area). In addition, all Bird scooters are much bigger and heavier designs, with batteries that take about 8 hours to charge.

I estimate I'm doing about four times the work for the same pay with the new design, so in order not to do that I simply ignore almost all scooters unless they are mostly charged, are 6 dollars, and very close to me. Ludicrously, I make more money this way than simply grabbing every scooter. It's still easy incidental work, $20-30 per day, but it's obvious Bird is moving to an entirely pickup truck based charger only.

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