A few weeks ago, my family and I traveled down to Tacoma, WA, to visit the Point Defiance Zoo. We stayed in a hotel right on the Puget Sound, only 10 or 15 minutes away. The hotel was right on an area that had been upgraded from one might typically expect in Tacoma: a nice broad walking path, several restaurants and coffee shops, a clean public restroom … and little electric scooters all over the place. The kids wanted to ride the scooters, so we quickly figure it out: download the app, load some money on it, scan the QR code on the scooter to unlock it, and away you go. Well, that’s the idea anyway. The reality was much different:
First, it was hard to find a scooter that had enough of a charge to ride, for one thing. Then, we learned that one account means one scooter at a time. No way to scan multiple scooters so everyone can ride together.
I wondered about the economy of such an arrangement, but I was on vacation, so the heck with that.
Apparently someone else was wondering about that, and they’ve pulled down some data and did some analysis of the economic feasibility.
The long and the short of it: they aren’t economically viable at all. Each scooter costs somewhere between $360 and $510, and they last, on average, just under a month. At the low end, scooter companies lose nearly $300 per scooter. One wonders if these things are underwritten by the taxpayer. One also wonders if these scooters actually wear out, or if they are stolen/vandalized?
Bottom line: another prog pipe dream.