Electric scooter rental services have soared in popularity in the past few years. Trials in cities such as Brisbane and San Antonio have seen success—but possibly not for much longer. Electric scooter rentals have faced a number of problems, from scooters being abandoned on streets or in bodies of water to experts finding concerning amounts of bacteria on these scooters. But there’s another important reason you may want to consider switching from a rental: these services are quickly going out of business.
Just recently, shared e-scooter juggernaut Bird filed for bankruptcy. Though the company is still operating, Bird’s fall has led some to call into question the long-term viability of electric scooter rental services. Another big player in the shared e-scooter market, Superpedestrian, shut down US operations at the end of December, and it's looking to sell its European branch, causing halts for trials in cities like Nottingham in the UK and Eugene in the US. Across the board, access to rental scooters is becoming uncertain at best, and it's possible that sooner or later, these scooters could vanish entirely.
Rental e-scooters have always been a gateway into personal e-scooter ownership, so despite their problems, the fall of these programs is a huge blow to scooter-based commuting efforts as a whole. But while the loss of this access point into the world of micro-mobility is disappointing, it's worth noting that personal e-scooters are still going strong. There's a sense of security that comes from owning your own ride: once you purchase a personal e-scooter, it’s yours alone, and you can take it anywhere without worrying about where to park it or how to access it. You can also take a personal electric scooter inside of buildings—most of our e-scooters at GOTRAX are lightweight and folding, so they’re easy to carry with you wherever you go. You won’t need to worry about having a scooter available to ride, and you won’t need to be concerned about the kind of condition other riders have left your scooter in before you take it for a spin.
Shared e-scooter services have done a lot for micro-mobility as a whole, and their slow downfall is upsetting for supporters of cleaner transportation. But even if rental e-scooters go out of business, that doesn't mean riders should give up on electric-vehicle-based commuting as a whole. We encourage riders everywhere to invest in their own personal e-scooter for the most convenient, secure, and reliable ride possible. And of course, no matter where you ride or what scooter you choose to ride on, remember to stay safe, follow the rules of the road, and always wear a helmet.