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Thread: Let's talk about e scooters

  1. #141
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    The biggest problem with scooters is the dockless part. That’s also the part costing the companies the most money. If they want to be profitable, they are going to have to figure that out and once they do, scooters will be less objectionable to the public. The current economic model is not sustainable even at scale.

    https://ark-invest.com/research/electric-scooters

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  3. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtowner View Post
    The biggest problem with scooters is the dockless part. That’s also the part costing the companies the most money. If they want to be profitable, they are going to have to figure that out and once they do, scooters will be less objectionable to the public. The current economic model is not sustainable even at scale.

    https://ark-invest.com/research/electric-scooters
    THIS I agree with completely. A large city or region like the Washington Metropolitan Area, if it takes finding transportation solutions seriously, should take the bull by the horns and provide incentives for companies to use a docked system. The whole thing could even be voluntary and would not prevent users from going dockless in an emergency. It could work like this: The municipality installs racks that have on them a series of low-profile, horizontal bars that are 12mm in diameter and 30 CM (12") wide; each bar has, at its center, four bands of contacts on them; two for data and two for delivering 42vdc, at 2 amps. Once the scoot "handshakes" with the dock, the dock delivers the juice. Engaging the docking bar simultaneously secures the scooter, and charges them as well. The scooter companies, eager to have their scooters secure and not have to pay contractors to charge the scooter daily, will attach a locking/latching clamp to their scoots that is compatible with the rack docking stations. The dock itself has no locks and therefore will not be part of the rental or unlocking process.
    The biggest obstacle to raking in revenue all day with multiple rentals is the cost of a new scooter relative to its service life, which would certainly be shorter on average when the scooters are left out in the wild ; the cost to charge the scooters daily likewise drains away precious rental revenue. I could foresee rental companies charging $5 to unlock from a docking station and 15 cents per minute.... but refunding the entire unlock fee if the scoot is docked at a docking station. That way if there is no dock to be found, a renter can still drop off a scoot anywhere, but has a financial incentive to find a dock. The rental company can use that $5 to pay the company affiliate to find, charge, and re-release an undocked scooter. Or, to hell with voluntary compliance- the municipality can throw its weight around and mandate that all rental scooters have clamp solenoids. Imagine if a loose dockless e-scooter cost little or nothing to unlock for rental, but the renter STILL got the $5 if he ends up docking it? Then ANYONE with the phone app who happens upon an undocked scoot can pick up $5 of easy money by simply docking the thing! Helpful sidewalk sweepers will suddenly materialize everywhere!

    By the way, how do I "like" a post? I don't see an icon to do so.
    Last edited by phog; 06-14-2019 at 07:13 AM.

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  5. #143
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    1. semi dockless already exists, at least for bikes. Thats what they have in Albany ny. You pay a surcharge to park it away from a docking station.
    2. That wont stop complaining in Old Town, where they will hate both the stations and any undocked scooters.
    3. Its not only parking. They hate seeing scooters ridden. On sidewalks, but also on streets.

  6. #144
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    Aw man! And here I thought I had invented the thing! Well, there goes my fame and fortune as an inventor. Still, I think this is what needs to be done to solve the litter and unprofitable operation problem with e-scooters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    1. semi dockless already exists, at least for bikes.
    Like the 3 Jump bikes on the Case Bridge sidepath this morning?

  8. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    According to the information we were given at the BAC meeting, scooter rides in the US outnumbered docked bikeshare rides in 2018 even though they did not exist for the entire year, while docked bikeshare systems have been around for about 10 years. About 40 million rides each. I will not be surprised if we see 200 million scooter rides this year and a billion within 2-3 years.
    So as asinine as they may or may not be, they are here to stay in a big way.
    right up until VC money stops flowing in, then they're gone

  9. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by phog View Post
    It could work like this: The municipality installs racks that have on them a series of low-profile, horizontal bars that are 12mm in diameter and 30 CM (12") wide; each bar has, at its center, four bands of contacts on them; two for data and two for delivering 42vdc, at 2 amps. Once the scoot "handshakes" with the dock, the dock delivers the juice. Engaging the docking bar simultaneously secures the scooter, and charges them as well. The scooter companies, eager to have their scooters secure and not have to pay contractors to charge the scooter daily, will attach a locking/latching clamp to their scoots that is compatible with the rack docking stations. The dock itself has no locks and therefore will not be part of the rental or unlocking process.
    These docks would not be trivial, because they need to be connected to electrical power (solar like CaBi is unlikely to provide enough to charge the scooters). And to make them really useful, there should probably be several on every block, literally thousands in the region.

  10. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    right up until VC money stops flowing in, then they're gone
    ya know, a long time ago, I spoke to someone in VC. They gamble. Most don't pay off. A few do, often quite big. Given how big the payback is when they hit, if they didn't mostly miss, the thing wouldn't be in equilibrium.

    I remember the Dot com boom. Lots of failures. Lots of bankruptcies. But also, I guess, google. and a few other big hits.

    The notion that because VC is involved it automatically means a concept won't last strikes me as just as unrealistic as thinking every new concept getting VC money will succeed. In a lot of case many of the entrants will fail, but one or two WILL succeed, and make money out of their market dominance (I remember when there were so many search engines around, there was a market for meta search engines that combined results from different search engines - because like who had time to do a dozen searches on different engines that each had their own strengths?) Some concepts will go away entirely. Some will evolve.

    Its dead certain that many of the escooter companies now present will go away. Its possible they all will. Its also quite possible that one or two will survive and scoop up the market. That the thing has grown so fast suggests to me that the possibility of the latter is not negligible. As a citizen and advocate, I think its at least likely enough to justify the cost of painting scooter markings in bike lanes, say.

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  12. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    These docks would not be trivial, because they need to be connected to electrical power (solar like CaBi is unlikely to provide enough to charge the scooters). And to make them really useful, there should probably be several on every block, literally thousands in the region.

    https://www.citylab.com/transportati...t-spin/584332/

  13. #150
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    Every streetlight is connected to electrical power... I think the docks as I envision them could be made economically, since they would not possess any locking hardware other than the fixed docking rods, and no moving parts.

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