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Can users break share bikes/scooters faster than they can fix them?

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Can users break share bikes/scooters faster than they can fix them?

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Old 08-30-18, 06:13 AM
  #1  
tandempower
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Can users break share bikes/scooters faster than they can fix them?

I own several bicycles, all of which I maintain and repair myself. It doesn't take long to fix a flat, which I don't have to do often because of good flat-resistant tires. I replace brake pads when they wear down. I adjust brake cables and replace them occasionally. I check spokes and true wheels as best I can without a truing stand. I lube bottom brackets and wheel bearings and replace them with cartridge bearings that are easier to maintain when I can justify the expense by the overall quality of the bike.

If I can repair and maintain several vehicles for my household, then it should be possible for users to maintain a fleet of share bikes and/or scooters, shouldn't it? The question is how many people do the repairs/maintenance vs. how many people pay to fund the repair/maintenance time for the other users. This article describes a situation in Salt Lake City where many scooters are broken and how the share company relies on just a few mechanics to deal with problems. This raises the question of what array of options there are for maintaining a fleet of share bikes/scooters. How could it be done most efficiently and drive up the cost for users as little as possible? Could (certain) users perform maintenance work in exchange for free use of the bikes/scooters? Could users put in a little time here and there as extra work in addition to having other jobs?

Would you want to help maintain such a share fleet? How much time would you be willing to spend per week/month on it? How much money would you expect it to pay? What issues/problems would you foresee?

https://fox13now.com/2018/08/29/dead...nd-inoperable/
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Old 08-30-18, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Would you want to help maintain such a share fleet? How much time would you be willing to spend per week/month on it? How much money would you expect it to pay? What issues/problems would you foresee?
Nope, I wouldn't want to be any part of maintaining a share fleet.
I've never had to use a share bicycle, but if I were to want to use a share bicycle, I have absolutely no desire to maintain it. It's like when I rent a car. I get the insurance so that if something happens to the car ... it's not my problem.

Issues? Insurance & safety.
Pay? At least $21/hour, of course, and written assurance that I fall within the company insurance policy.

But I wouldn't be willing to spend a single minute maintaining a share fleet ... unless I had no other job prospects at the moment, and could land that as a full-time job.
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Old 08-30-18, 09:20 AM
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sOUNDS LIKe they need better built, stronger, scooters. You just cannot have your consumer grade scooter and expec it to last.
They need to design more rugged and durable scooters for ride share.

We have "free range" bikes on campus...and I frequently volunteer to fix them. I happen to have a lot of extra un-needed parts at home.
So, I take it upon my self to do something for the community. It makes me feel good doing something for a good cause.

Perhaps, they can come up with some sort of voluteer plan to maintain them scooters. Like how MTB'er voluteer to maintain the public trails. And scooters look so dam simple...almost anyone should be able to quiclkly learn how to fix them...and high quality scooter shouldn't be breaking down much anyway.

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Old 08-30-18, 04:29 PM
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tandempower
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
sOUNDS LIKe they need better built, stronger, scooters. You just cannot have your consumer grade scooter and expec it to last.
They need to design more rugged and durable scooters for ride share.

We have "free range" bikes on campus...and I frequently volunteer to fix them. I happen to have a lot of extra un-needed parts at home.
So, I take it upon my self to do something for the community. It makes me feel good doing something for a good cause.

Perhaps, they can come up with some sort of voluteer plan to maintain them scooters. Like how MTB'er voluteer to maintain the public trails. And scooters look so dam simple...almost anyone should be able to quiclkly learn how to fix them...and high quality scooter shouldn't be breaking down much anyway.
Probably the data they gather from repair reports will be used to refine the design in future production runs. That is a good point.
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Old 08-30-18, 04:44 PM
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I saw a bunch of those scooters distributed around Portland.

How are the things recharged? It would seem like there would be a lot of overhead collecting them, recharging, and redistributing. And, that would be the perfect opportunity to do repairs and maintenance.

I believe the bike shares in Eugene and Portland are pretty new, so who knows if they will age gracefully.

Eugene has a couple of mechanics to deal with issues. I've someone with a portable power washer going around to bike racks in Portland to power wash the bikes.

Keep in mind, they'e called "Bike Shares", but are really very short term rentals. If you rent a car, you might do some minor maintenance (replace a fuse?), but you aren't expecting to be changing the oil, or pulling a transmission.

Likewise, on a bike, maybe inflate a tire, but don't expect to be replacing major components.

I could, however, imagine a business model with distributed mechanics. Give some riders spare tires, chains, etc... just for when they're needed.
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Old 08-30-18, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
How much money would you expect it to pay? What issues/problems would you foresee?
If I was employed by a fly by night speculative Venture Capitalist's Ponzi operation I would make haste cashing my paycheck. I foresee bounced checks for any employees of a company unlikely to ever come close to earning a profit from operations in the near or far term and with a business plan based on surviving until the early investors/Venture Capitalists can get a dreamy pay day with an IPO; and won't last long afterward.
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Old 08-30-18, 05:19 PM
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The whole "share" rhetoric is silly, and misleading. There is no 'share' there.

These outfits, just like Uber and Lyft and so on, are simply for-profit companies attempting to cash in on the 'OMG our cities are soooo overcrowded/overrun with Demon Cars' etc. blah blah blah meme. And part of that cashing-in is a wilfull disregard for local regulation, and/or licensing/insurance requirements. As 'Bird' itself admits, for example, its modus operandi is to dump its little toys into a city without first seeking approval/accommodation from the appropriate municipal authority, and then deal with the fall-out later. Its rhetoric framed in terms of 'sustainability' and other ostensibly altruistic terms is a self-evident sham.

If someone is dumb enough or in need enough to attempt to pick up a few below-minimum-wage dollars acting as a 'charger' for scooters or as some sort of play-pretend 'mechanic', thereby increasing 'Bird's' profit margins, good luck to 'em. As was said long ago, and it remains true, 'there's a sucker born every minute'.

The simple fact remains that these 'companies' are fronts for venture capitalists who have spotted yet another possible market opportunity. No different than any other company that has attempted or is attempting to cash in on a perceived trend. NTTAWWT, but that is what they are and not to see them as such is, well, pathetic.
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Old 08-30-18, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
If I was employed by a fly by night speculative Venture Capitalist's Ponzi operation I would make haste cashing my paycheck. I foresee bounced checks for any employees of a company unlikely to ever come close to earning a profit from operations in the near or far term and with a business plan based on surviving until the early investors/Venture Capitalists can get a dreamy pay day with an IPO; and won't last long afterward.
In the video about charging the scooters, they say that they pay the same day after you send the photo of the charged Bird in its 'nest.' It didn't mention anything about any of the other financial issues you mention.
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Old 08-30-18, 06:36 PM
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Most of the actual bike share companies with DOCKS charge real money for the bike rentals, and I've seen people riding the bikes, at least in good weather. Although, there are quite a few bikes on the racks not being used. They usually have a sponsor. Nike in Portland. The local hospital in Eugene. It would be interesting to see their balance sheet if one ignored capital (from the sponsors), but they can probably be self supporting.

I don't know about those little E-Scooters. Those would seem to be something where it would be a benefit to the companies to organize very local support.... people who could collect a half dozen within a block or two, recharge, check, and then drop off. Perhaps give them free scooter use for making sure several are kept charged.
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Old 08-30-18, 07:00 PM
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Problem 1; scooters are not, bicycles... Problem 2; if, they are E-scooters they need to be charged, a whole "different\' type of problem... IMO.
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Old 08-30-18, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
The whole "share" rhetoric is silly, and misleading. There is no 'share' there.

These outfits, just like Uber and Lyft and so on, are simply for-profit companies attempting to cash in on the 'OMG our cities are soooo overcrowded/overrun with Demon Cars' etc. blah blah blah meme.
Not quite, in that these so-called for profit "share" mobility companies are in reality money burning operations losing hundred of millions of their investor's stake EVERY quarter. Profit is only a dream, not reality for every one of them.

But then reality is a foreign concept also in this sharing meme so beloved by one or two LCF posters.
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Old 08-31-18, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Not quite, in that these so-called for profit "share" mobility companies are in reality money burning operations losing hundred of millions of their investor's stake EVERY quarter. Profit is only a dream, not reality for every one of them.

But then reality is a foreign concept also in this sharing meme so beloved by one or two LCF posters.
Point taken
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Old 08-31-18, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
If I was employed by a fly by night speculative Venture Capitalist's Ponzi operation I would make haste cashing my paycheck. I foresee bounced checks for any employees of a company unlikely to ever come close to earning a profit from operations in the near or far term and with a business plan based on surviving until the early investors/Venture Capitalists can get a dreamy pay day with an IPO; and won't last long afterward.
It does seem like many of these operations, as with many novel "start ups" these days, are more intended to create a company you can sell rather than to create a company that will generate long term profit.
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Old 08-31-18, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
It does seem like many of these operations, as with many novel "start ups" these days, are more intended to create a company you can sell rather than to create a company that will generate long term profit.
The headlines all feature how much money these start-ups raise from investors, but nothing about what they earn or their expenses.

They haven't shown evidence yet of being capable of earning a even short term profit, or even breaking even.

Anyone seen online any evidence of the actual daily (let alone quarterly) revenue or expenses for the scooter or dockless "share" bicycle outfits? How many paying customers daily, and how much do they actually pay Bird, et al. Better yet, what do they earn when the weather isn't sunny and warm? Do their expenses go away too?

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Old 08-31-18, 09:13 AM
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Old 08-31-18, 11:47 AM
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https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45364604
"It was in March when Bird, Lime and Spin, backed by millions of dollars, placed hundreds of scooters all over the city - assuming that seeking forgiveness would be the best approach.

It wasn’t. Their hopes of an Uber-esque explosion - whereby the new tech became so popular no-one would dare ban it for fear of a revolt - were dashed when San Francisco said “Enough!” and ordered the scooters off the streets. "
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Old 09-01-18, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
The headlines all feature how much money these start-ups raise from investors, but nothing about what they earn or their expenses.

They haven't shown evidence yet of being capable of earning a even short term profit, or even breaking even.

Anyone seen online any evidence of the actual daily (let alone quarterly) revenue or expenses for the scooter or dockless "share" bicycle outfits? How many paying customers daily, and how much do they actually pay Bird, et al. Better yet, what do they earn when the weather isn't sunny and warm? Do their expenses go away too?
Let's think about the costs and revenues for a moment. How much does it cost to mass-produce scooters/bikes per unit if you are producing large numbers of units using hyper-efficient factories? Let's assume the unit-production cost is exceptionally low, and that replacement parts can also be produced for an exceptionally low cost.

Now, you have a huge number of units and parts to maintain/repair them, but then comes the costs of labor, management, shareholder dividends, etc. That drives up costs. However, if you keep all these costs low, you have the potential for an operation that can be sustained for quite a long time at little expense. That means your shares will have plenty of time on the market to be bought and resold, which means they can appreciate. So it is logical that investors are thinking they can speculate up the value of these stocks and make money that way.

What is the problem with this business model? The costs of production and maintenance of the system are low, so it is profitable at a low price. The only way it becomes less sustainable financially is if everyone involved starts demanding more income, which would drive up the prices and deter users from using the system abundantly. The whole point of small, efficient transportation like dockless share scooters and bikes is that you can use them abundantly without spending much money.

What's more, because they are small and energy-efficient, their abundant use reduces the abundant but more harmful abundant use of cars and trucks as mass-transportation. If this business model fails, it will be because of anti-competitive business interests that seek to preserve the wasteful and therefore lucrative automotive business model against more cost-efficient alternatives. It would be a setback for convenient car-free transportation choice.
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Old 09-01-18, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Let's think about the costs and revenues for a moment. How much does it cost to mass-produce scooters/bikes per unit if you are producing large numbers of units using hyper-efficient factories? Let's assume the unit-production cost is exceptionally low, and that replacement parts can also be produced for an exceptionally low cost.
Let's not assume ... let's find out for sure.

Do some research and find out!

We'll be here when you get back.
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Old 09-01-18, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Let's not assume ... let's find out for sure.

Do some research and find out!

We'll be here when you get back.
It's unnecessary because it is obvious to anyone who understands business and value addition from raw materials to finished products.
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Old 09-01-18, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
It's unnecessary because it is obvious to anyone who understands business and value addition from raw materials to finished products.
Most of us can never hope to possess an intellect like yours. Take your obviously viable model and make your billions :-)
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Old 09-01-18, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Most of us can never hope to possess an intellect like yours. Take your obviously viable model and make your billions :-)
Perhaps reality might set in if he was responsible for the finances of and operated even so much as a lemonade stand, but I doubt it.
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Old 09-01-18, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
It's unnecessary because it is obvious to anyone who understands business and value addition from raw materials to finished products.
Once again, only an emoticon will do:
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Old 09-01-18, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Most of us can never hope to possess an intellect like yours. Take your obviously viable model and make your billions :-)
Billions of cars off the roads, I hope; and then billions of square feet of pavement converted into tree-shaded bike/scooter lanes.
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Old 09-01-18, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Billions of cars off the roads, I hope; and then billions of square feet of pavement converted into tree-shaded bike/scooter lanes.
Wishin' and Hopin' was a great song with very dreamy lyrics; not so good or useful as a model for a business plan though.
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Old 09-02-18, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Wishin' and Hopin' was a great song with very dreamy lyrics; not so good or useful as a model for a business plan though.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZbrDo6pvT8
Every car on the road represents income for someone on the payroll of an automaker, so there are a lot of politics to preventing the number of cars from decreasing, but the car culture is unsustainable, so it's just a question of when people are finally going to do the right thing and forego that automotive money in favor of more eco-friendly transportation.

What business plan can you make for people or an entire industry to lose revenue? They just have to trust that there will be enough food and other economic means to live without selling as many cars and with less paved infrastructure to maintain and expand.
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