If you've ever wondered why there's electric scooters parked at various places around Bakersfield, I'll tell you exactly why...
They are owned by " Bird ", a company that is valued over a billion dollars, and Bakersfield is one of the cities they've dropped dozens of these scooters in. It's a cool concept that I'll probably try someday just for the heck of it, but I really wonder if Bakersfield really needs or uses these "Birds"?
Honestly they are kind of an eye sore. You see them parked at different intersections around the city, and my 1st thought is somebody stealing one without realizing they are GPS tracked. My 2nd thought is wondering how they work?
It's pretty simple, and works similar to Uber or Lyft:
You install the Bird app on your smartphone, then you can see the location of all the Bird's in the city you are in. Choose a particular Bird and choose the "RIDE" button. Once you scan the QR code on the scooter it unlocks it and you ride to your destination.
If you're curious how they stay charged, Bird has that issue covered. Each evening they pay "gig workers" to go around and charge the scooters before placing them in specific destinations for the next day by 7 am. These workers are independent contractors who receive an average of $5 per scooter.
Not every city is accepting of these scooters though. San Francisco applied for a cease and desist order in June of 2018, forcing Bird to remove the scooters from the city limits temporarily. Many other cities have fined Bird for not having a business license to operate the scooters in their city.
There's also been a problem with vandalism. People have tossed the scooters into bushes, and even into the San Francisco bay! There's even been reports of scooters with feces smeared all over them. It might be a good idea to carry disinfecting wipes with you in you plan to give it a ride!