If you want to catch up with the latest micro-mobility trend, you should check the reviews of the best scooter brands. More people are using their e-scooter or a rented one to spend less time in traffic during their daily commute. Despite having some initial problems, their popularity is rising and the city officials are looking for solutions to integrate them into city traffic.
E-scooters as the transportation option
Using your car in a large city might not be the quickest way to reach your final destination. A lot of people are starting to look for vehicle sharing systems as a better choice for short trips and as a good method to cut down the CO2 emissions. Even if you don’t own an electric scooter, using the scooter-rental services is very convenient.
How does the rental service work?
First of all, you need to download and boot up the app. The application will search for the closest e-scooter and with a simple tap, you can unlock your next vehicle. The rental service will charge you as you go. After you reach your destination, you can drop the scooter off anywhere and lock it through the app.
How much does the service cost?
It could be difficult to predict how much a trip will cost. The tariff depends on where you are going and how long you will be traveling. For example, if your trip ends in an area where this service is highly requested, it will be cheaper.
Unlocking the scooter will cost $1 no matter how long your trip is or where you are going. After that, you will be charged per minute of driving. Usually, it’s between 15 and 20 cents. Some companies limited the daily charge to $100.
If you rent the vehicle for more than 48 hours, the firms will consider it stolen and you might be faced with a $500 or $2000 fee, depending on the company. Tracking the scooters might give useful information to city planners as they will observe which areas of the city are the most circulated depending on time intervals.
How popular are electric-scooters?
You can rent an electric scooter in approximately 63 cities in the US but in most of them, the number of scooters available for renting hardly exceeds 1,000. Reports of unsupervised electric scooters left on sidewalks or in car parks have resulted in citizens complaining of urban chaos.
Because of this, some cities have decided to set a maximum number of scooters available through a renting service.
Electric scooters’ safety
Your safety when riding an e-scooter totally depends on you. The renting companies don’t provide their customers with protective equipment as it could easily get lost or stolen. In terms of traffic safety, the firms may offer you a guide on road signals but that isn’t enough to keep you safe. When driving a scooter on public roads or sidewalks, wear a helmet and protective gloves and be as visible as possible.
There has been an increasing number of scooter related accidents as they became more popular. Nevertheless, the majority of these accidents happened because of the driver’s carelessness or misuse of the vehicle. People talking on the phone while driving or more than one person riding the same scooter were the most common causes of accidents.
In order to decrease the number of accidents, the electric scooter producers present safety videos on their websites and a safety tutorial is available through the renting app. Furthermore, safety instructions are written on every scooter.
There is no doubt the number of scooter drivers involved in dangerous situations will decrease as they will get more experienced and other drivers will be more aware of their presence on the roads.
Who is manufacturing the e-scooters?
Currently, these vehicles are made by various Chinese producers who are selling them all over the world. Some of the sharing services acquire customized scooters to build their brand and to differentiate from the competition.
Cities against e-scooters
Local authorities have come short of declaring these companies to be illegal or implying they should relocate their business elsewhere. However, they made clear that rental services can’t just appear in municipalities without some oversight.
Los Angeles and Santa Monica are two of the cities that banned e-scooter renting companies. According to local officials, the city of Los Angeles was flooded with e-scooters that caused traffic congestions and other inconveniences. City officials banned the renting firms until they come up with an appropriate policy to control the services.
Officials are thinking about higher fees for permits and they are also considering limiting the number of e-scooters that can be rented around the city. Nearby Beverly Hills completely banned for six months these companies. The local authorities considered the e-scooters are increasing the risk of serious accidents.
Also, the scooters were deployed around the city without the permission of the city council.
The parking problem
It is against the law to park an electric scooter overnight on public spaces. This is because of the scooters’ lithium batteries which would make a possible fire very difficult to control. Also, having small, light e-scooters parked randomly around the city favors theft or vandalism. So renting services have to hire companies or freelancers to go around the city and collect the e-scooters.
How to make money by charging e-scooters
The scooter-sharing companies are dependent on local contractors to keep their business running. So if you have a van or a pick-up truck, you can make some extra money. You just need to identify the company’s scooters, take them to your place, charge them overnight and return them to specified by firm locations before the next morning.
At first, you have to apply as a „charger” or „juicer” using the same application you’d use as a customer. If you don’t get immediately approved, it means there is a waiting list and you might be contacted later. You will have to provide your personal data and the bank account information so you can get paid.
Why people choose to use e-scooters
Electric scooters are great if you have a short commute to your office or school. In the US, 50% of the car trips are under 5 miles and 25% are shorter than one mile. So it makes sense to replace the car with an electric scooter if you don’t have passengers or luggage. Recent studies showed that the average US citizen spent 42 hours stuck in traffic in 2015.
You can buy a decent scooter for $500-700 or you can rent one if you don’t intend to use it regularly. Also, the cost of using it every day is around 60 times smaller than operating a regular car. Even if you have to buy a new e-scooter after two years, it will still be less expensive than owning a car.
There is almost no maintenance required for electric scooters. You just need to keep them clean and check if there is any rubble glued to the tires. When checking your scooter, lift it and spin the wheels. If you hear an unusual noise, you might need to clean and lubricate the wheel’s bearing.
Also, you should change the drive belt once a year since they are not designed to be used for an extended period. Anyway, you don’t need a lot of mechanical skills to keep your e-scooter running smoothly and it doesn’t take a lot of time.
They are convenient
Most e-scooters are foldable and don’t weigh more than 30 pounds. They are easy to get out of the car trunk and take them to your house for recharging. So you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot or having it stolen.
On top of that, e-scooters have one more great characteristic. You can make your 6 miles commute in less than half an hour without breaking a sweat.
Is this transport’s future?
It might be too soon to tell. Until now, bike sharing systems didn’t have a radical effect on cities’ traffic. Most people decide if they are using the scooter depending on the weather so in many parts of the country, riding a scooter will be a seasonal activity.
Furthermore, US citizens have a deep-seated automotive culture. Using a scooter to get around town is not considered something serious that an adult would do. Transportation analysts believe that local authorities could change this perception by creating designated lanes, properly placed charging stations, and dedicated parking spaces.