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We're all used to these bike share programs like these Boris bikes in London, like Citibikes in New York. But the latest greatest thing in micro mobility solutions is electric scooters. I'm Richard Beales, Deputy Editor of Reuters Breakingviews. One of the hottest tickets in the US venture capital is all these scooter start-ups dropping electric scooters on the streets of cities in the US and elsewhere.
Hoping people will spend a few dollars, a few pounds, a few euros to do their last few miles of their journeys. Replacing what they would do in a taxi, or they will do it in the car, maybe what they will do on foot, it's a lot quicker, 15 miles per hour.
The team leaders here are companies called Byrd and Lime. Almost all of these are single syllable names for some reason. GOAT, JUMP, Byrd and Lime both raised $400 million or more in 2018, they both aspire to multi billion dollar evaluations in the private markets. There are though a few challenges.
One is you might have scooters littering up your already congested cities, safety helmets another concern. What we initially saw was these companies behaving quite aggressively dropping scooters everywhere, San Francisco, even San Francisco, the home of technology, have banned them, and is only letting them back in very limited numbers under licence.
So what we're seeing more of now is collaboration with cities. So Byrd for example is working with the New York authorities to get introduced there. In London there's a pilot project at the Olympic Park and the CEO of Byrd has suggested the scooter company should share a dollar per scooter, per day with the cities to build infrastructure.
Now that could quite easily add up to millions of dollars a year which is enough to build quite a few miles of bike lane. So that maybe one possible solution in any event, expect to see more electric scooters buzzing around your neighborhood in 2019.