US electric scooters venture Bird today extended its operations to Ramat Gan. The service, which began operating in neighboring Tel Aviv last August, rents out electric scooters for use per minute. The service operates through a special app for locating an available scooter.
Riding electric scooters in Israel is permitted from age 18 and wearing a helmet is compulsory. The service is convenient and fast for traveling within the city, but it is not cheap: trips cost NIS 5 plus NIS 0.50 per minute, so a 10-minute trip costs NIS 10 and a 20-minute trip costs NIS 15. Someone traveling to and from the railway station, for example, will pay NIS 25 a day and hundreds of shekels a month for regular riding.
The advantage of this transportation solution is its convenience, both in the time that the trip takes (with no physical effort) and the fact that the scooter can be left out on the street.
Since the service was launched in Tel Aviv, it appears that passersby have adopted the idea, and it is not easy to find scooters available for riding. Furthermore, like Beijing Mobike Technology's share bicycles, Bird is also becoming a public nuisance in many cases when riders leave scooters on the sidewalk, at the entrance to buildings, etc. Both Bird and Mobike tell users to leave the scooters and bikes near bicycle facilities or on the side of the road, but people do not always follow these instructions.
Bird operates from 7 am until 10 pm, or until the battery runs out. In order to recharge all of its hundreds of scooters, Bird offers a creative solution from which quite a bit of money can be made. Anyone taking the scooter home to charge them can earn NIS 30-75 per charging (in direct payment). The model is profitable for the company, which does not have to collect and charge all of the scooters at night. The person doing the charging must undertake to return the scooter the following morning to places in demand for riding.
According to Bird, 25,000 riders have used its electric scooters at least once in Tel Aviv. The average journey is 2.4 kilometers. Ramat Gan is the second city from which the company will operate. Bird Israel general manager Yaniv Rivlin says, "Israel was selected by the company's managers as one of the first targets for expansion outside the US." Simultaneously with launching the service in Tel Aviv last summer, Bird also launching the service in Paris, but most of its activity is in the US.
Bird will soon face competition in Israel from Lime, another US company that offers a similar service. It is believed that Lime's scooter rental prices will be similar to Bird's. Bird, which was launched a year ago and has already accumulated over 10 million journey's worldwide, has an estimated $2.2 billion company value.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 11, 2018
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