• 05
    Sep
    Posted in:
    Detroit Scooters, Bikes, and Buses. Oh my!

    Detroit has had Uber and Lyft for a while, and then the city built the QLine. Now other alternatives to automotive travel in the Motor City have been sprouting up as well, primarily bikes and electric scooters. To generate excitement around these new modalities, companies are offering early adopters discounted rates. But who are these companies, how easy are their products to use, and what advantages are there to riding Detroit scooters?

    Bird and Lime: The Electric Scooter Companies

    At the end of July, Bird, an electric scooter company that launched in 2017, came to Detroit. Its mission is to reduce carbon emissions from cars in big cities and to provide citizens with a new “last mile” solution, a term that’s been used a lot recently to describe the final part of travel between one’s car and one’s final destination.

    To rent a Bird scooter, users simply download an app, set up an account (which includes steps like viewing a safety overview and uploading a valid driver’s license), and use the app’s map function to locate a Detroit scooter. The app then allows riders to unlock a nearby scooter and ride it for a small fee ($1 plus 15 cents per minute). Once the ride is finished, the user properly parks the scooter according to the company and city’s requirements so another person can come use it. Lime, a competing scooter company, operates using a similar business model.

    The Problems with Detroit Scooters

    The cities in which Bird has already appeared (e.g. San Francisco, Milwaukee, Nashville, Austin) have met the company with backlash. The scooters can go up to 15 miles per hour, which means riders pose a risk to pedestrians sharing the sidewalk. The company asks that users ride in bike lanes or the right lane of the road where they are less of a risk, but Bird can do little to enforce this rule.

    Riders are also asked to park the scooters where they won’t be a nuisance, which is similarly difficult to enforce. This problem is what has led many cities to impound scooters that are left in inconvenient locations or tipped over.

    E. Jefferson Avenue and many other roads in Detroit have gotten bike lanes in recent years, but the streets that haven’t yet may be too busy for riders to safely operate the Detroit scooters in.

    MoGo And Lyft Become Besties

    Meanwhile, as scooters become more prevalent, another company has a promotion to share with Detroiters. MoGo, a bike-sharing company that started through Wayne State, has partnered with Lyft, one of Uber’s ride-sharing competitors.

    MoGo allows members to ride their bikes between 43 designated stations scattered throughout Detroit. To encourage more people to become members, Lyft has signed a six-month pilot program offering MoGo members discounted fares to and from MoGo stations.

    MLive even quoted MoGo founder Lisa Nuszkowski as saying the following:

    “MoGo and Lyft share the same goals of helping get people where they need to go, whether to work, school, running errands, or connecting with friends and family.”

    It sounds very similar to Bird and Lime’s missions with their scooters.

    Lime and Bird are now Detroit Scooters

    The Mayor Adds an Initiative to Improve Commuting

    Mayor Duggan announced that his office would improve the city’s bus services effective September 1st. His efforts are resulting in the addition of 500+ trips per week to the city’s top ten most travelled routes, collectively referred to as “ConnectTen.”

    This plan came together very quickly, and we at Detroit Sign Factory were proud to be able to lend our services by making bus route decals for this project. As the city sees more demand for automotive alternatives, we imagine we’ll be helping with more projects like this. Whether it’s signage for bike lanes, wraps for scooters and bikes, or signs designating parking spots for various two-wheelers, we’re glad to be a part of whatever comes (or rolls) our way.

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