In 2018, scooter-sharing looked like the hottest investment in VC, and Bird vs. Lime appeared to be the sidewalk version of Uber vs. Lyft.
Then, 2020 happened.
After taking a nosedive in the early days of the pandemic, shared scooter usage is bouncing back in 2022, per Bloomberg.
In April of 2019…
… Lime and Bird were riding high, with 7.3m and 2.1m active users, respectively. A year later, and a month into the pandemic, both companies saw active users drop over 70%, leading them to cut back:
- Bird laid off 30% of its workforce and paused service in 27+ cities
- Lime laid off 13% of its workforce and paused service in 100+ cities
Usage started creeping back up in 2021, setting the stage for a full-on scooter resurgence in 2022. This April:
- Bird had 2.6m active users (more than pre-pandemic)
- Lime had 5m active users (~70% of its 2019 total)
… have found themselves in a very different world than pre-2020. More urban workers are considering scooters amid rising fuel prices. Lime says its number of trips in Q1 rose 75% YoY.
Additionally, the two scooter startups have increasingly pivoted their marketing to highlight their status as sustainable alternatives to conventional transportation.
There’s another silver lining to the last couple years. Per Lime CEO Wayne Ting, “When people change their transportation routines, usually it’s because they move homes or change jobs.”
In other words, the Great Resignation could be fueling the great scooter renaissance.
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