E-scooter sharing providers in the USA are currently trying to rehabilitate their reputation. This is also imperative, because American cities are now providing plenty of tough measures against them. According to a report in ‘The Verge’ magazine, both Lime and Bird announced that they would donate shares of their e-scooter sales to charities.
After the flooding of dozens of cities with tens of thousands of electric two-wheelers in recent weeks, the bicycle and e-scooter sharing providers in the US are in a major dilemma. Cities are increasingly adopting new rules to regulate the use of rental vehicles. In fact, it is to be understood as active damage control that the Scooter Startups have announced various activities over the past few days to support charities. This is intended primarily to address people with low incomes and for infrastructure improvements. Small side effect: Infrastructure measures help the use of e-scooters, the support of people with low incomes leads new target groups to the sharing services. A certain ‘taste’ therefore remains with these actions.
May I introduce: the Lime Hero
The latest measure comes from the bike and e-scooter sharing giant Lime. Today, the company operates pedal-assisted dockless scooters and bicycles in more than 60 cities in the United States and in half a dozen cities in Europe. The San Mateo-based company has introduced a new “donations module” called Lime Hero, in which a portion of the fare goes to a local non-profit organization. The driver decides for himself by directly entering the data on the app.
Sharing provider Lime launches in three pilot cities in the USA
Lime will launch its campaign next week in three pilot cities: Seattle, Washington DC and Austin. Each city has its own unique local partner who then receives the donations. In Seattle, Lime is working with the Cascade Bicycle Club, which is committed to improving and improving the safety of bicycle infrastructure. In Austin, Lime has partnered with the Austin Music Foundation, a program to strengthen the local music industry through workshops, panels and networking events. Finally, Lime has teamed up with Building Bridges Across the River in Washington DC. This is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce social, health, environmental and economic disparities within DC.
Sharing provider Bird takes another step forward
Competitor Bird can’t beat Bird in this respect. In the future, Bird will donate one US dollar a day for each e-scooter in operation to help cities build new, protected cycle paths. In addition to the expansion of new paths, the money is to be invested in the maintenance of existing cycle paths through repainting and repairs. Bird also announced the creation of a new Global Security Advisory Board, which will “create, create, advise and implement global programs, campaigns and products to improve the safety of those who carry, create, advise and implement birds and other e-scooters”.
It is difficult not to show a certain amount of scepticism in view of the quite obvious, temporal coincidence of donations and foundations by the mobility providers and their increasing problems in the urban centres. Corporate interests and generous charitable donations to official decision-makers or their communities should always be viewed critically.
But let us take off these cynical glasses. Through the strong use of sharing services as a modern mobility means in urban centres, considerable sums of money will be collected. With 10,000 e-scooters in a larger city, that’s a good 300,000 US dollars a month. I would like to see these funds implemented directly on German roads in bicycle and e-scooter infrastructure. Pragmatically improve service on the last mile. From this point of view, I really like the Bird and Lime approach.