Banned Bird Scooters Sneak Back into San Francisco
Bird, one of the e-scooter companies that were kicked of San Francisco last year for dumping thousands of scooters on SF streets without permission, are slowly sneaking back into the city. Despite not having permission, they’ve started renting their scooters (by the month) to SF residents (instead of by the minute as in previous iterations).
Bird noticed that only two scooter companies had legitimate city permits to operate in the city, so they did the proper corporate overload move, and BOUGHT the bigger of those two companies. Now Bird owns Scoot. So…’if you can’t beat ’em, just buy ’em!’
Scooter companies Scoot & Spin were rewarded by the city with MTA permits to operate because they were willing to work with the city to make the scooters more safe and inclusive to the community. Together with city officials they created a smaller, regulated, pilot program for e-scooters in SF, one that stressed not blocking public walkways, studied safety for riders and pedestrians, and created subsidized subscriptions for lower-income riders.
Bird, who is run by a former Uber executive Travis VanderZanden, (best known for allegedly stealing valuable documents from Lyft and giving them to Uber when he switched sides) is releasing Bird scooters into SF (and many cities around the world, regardless of not having permission. It’s clear they don’t give a shit about the rules. They just want to franchise their e-scooters, make their cash, and move onto their next venture. At least with the month to month rental system riders have some accountability for their actions, they have an incentive to lock up their scooters properly after riding them. When the rental model was ‘dump your scooter wherever and grab a new one when you need it,’ the city was besieged with piles of obnoxious, unregulated, e-scooters.