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Going dockless

A couple of months ago I wrote about Bird, the electric scooter sharing company that is trying to solve the last-mile problem. They are expanding across the US and it is seemingly wildly popular.

But its popularity is also leading some people to call them a public nuisance. Perhaps the biggest contributor to that is the fact that the system is dockless. That is, when you get to your destination you can park the Bird wherever you want.

That’s obviously a great feature for users (who wants to look around for a docking station?), but it’s also causing a proliferation of “Bird litter” in the cities and neighborhoods where they are widely used. 

I am sure this will eventually get resolved.

The other thing about going dockless is that you now have a charging problem. Where and when do these scooters get charged and by whom? Bird solves this problem through decentralized contract workers called “Bird hunters.”

You register to be one and then Bird pays you $5 to $20 for every scooter charged, depending on how difficult the Bird is to find. And as you can expect, these scooters are getting left all over the place.

I thought this was a clever solution. And apparently it is popular with high school students looking to earn extra cash. Some are making several hundred dollars a day by spending their evenings picking up and dropping off Birds.

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