In the summer of 2018, Bird and Lime dropped their fleet of scooters in Detroit and other cities around the country with little warning. Just as suddenly, those two companies have pulled out of Detroit.
Now, the Detroit Free Press reports, the only scooter company still operating in the city is Spin, which is owned by Ford Motor Company.
With Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other governors issuing stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), scooter companies have seen a steep drop-off in rides. The Verge reports that Bird laid off nearly one-third of its workforce last week, though a spokesperson told the Free Press that the departure from Detroit and layoffs may only be temporary.
Spin, meanwhile, is providing free 30 minute rides to all healthcare workers, and has increased deployment of its scooters near hospitals in Detroit.
After an initial surge in use, many demanded more regulation of scooters as users got injured with increasing frequency. Unlike bikes, there aren’t clear indications for where people should ride a scooter, which can reach up to 15 mph. (The answer is on the sidewalk or in bike lanes.)
It will be interesting to see if these companies return once the stay-at-home order ends. Scooter ridership had been dropping in some cities prior to the coronavirus outbreak.