“WHEN you enter [the marketplace] with that level of hubris and arrogance, you don’t create trust.” So declared a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this week. He was upset about the sudden appearance of dockless electric scooters, rented via smartphone, all over the city. Several American startups are battling each other and the authorities to promote them. They are clean, cheap and convenient. The snag is that some users ride them wildly or dump them willy-nilly after use. On April 17th the city passed an ordinance requiring a permit to park scooters on its pavements.
Similar clashes have taken place elsewhere. Bird, a Californian startup that raised $100m in venture-capital funding last month, launched its rental service for electrified scooters in September at its home base of Santa Monica. Since then, the beach town’s hipsters have completed over half a million rides on its scooters. Rather less keen were city officials, who…Continue reading