All things political: The future of green transportation

All things political: The future of green transportation

Most middle-aged Americans remember watching the futuristic Hanna Barbera cartoon, The Jetsons, in an endless loop of reruns throughout their childhood.

The Jetsons let us to believe the future would be filled with flying cars, which would effortlessly transport us safely throughout the sky.

Flying cars aren’t here, and driverless cars seem to always be a few years away, but electric scooters are coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
I learned all about electric scooters from friends and on a recent trip to the West Coast. When in Los Angeles, I noticed that people everywhere were zipping around on electric scooters.

Same thing was going on when I stopped over in Portland, Ore. After a little research I found out most major metropolitan areas, except In the Northeast, have easily accessible electric scooters for public use.
As of late summer, electric scooter companies named Bird, Lime, Spin, Goat and Skip have collectively deployed scooters in 33 cities.

Just a little over a month later the number is closer to 50. I tried one on my recent trip and they were as easy to use as a bicycle and a joy to ride.
The business model for all companies involved works like this: Use an app to find the nearest electric scooter.

Tap on the screen to unlock the scooter and then tap the app again when you are done to lock it. That’s it. It costs $1 to initiate a ride and then 15 cents a minute. A two-mile ride costs under $3.
Cities that were early adapters of this technology, such as San Francisco and Seattle, are ones that have always been attractive to Millennials.

I have tried to introduce then to Long Island thinking it would be a great way to retain our Millennials but have found roadblocks everywhere. The biggest pushback has been the concern of liability.

It should be known all electric scooter companies have anticipated liability concerns and indemnify municipalities and also add them as covered parties on their insurance policies.
Electric Scooters are already big business with the largest of them raising capital in the private markets at a $2 billion valuation.

Uber and Lyft are no longer the preferred mode of transportation for Millennials, as this new technology gets quickly adapted the day it comes to a new location.
Electric Scooter companies pay municipalities a $1 per day per scooter use fee.

An average village could easily generate $100,000 per year in newly found revenue. Residents can also make extra cash by becoming charging stations called “Nests.”

If you are a Nest you pick scooters up after 9:00 p.m. and drop them off first thing in the morning. You make from $5 to $20 a charge depending on how hard a scooter is to find. My son’s friend’s fraternity at UCLA is on track to make $30,000 in Nest income this year.
If Long Island wants to attract Millennials, villages want extra revenue from an environmentally friendly form of transportation and residents want to make extra income to offset the high cost of Long Island living, electric scooters should become ubiquitous as soon as possible.

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  1. Agreed!! After trying both Bird and Lime scooters, I ordered the same model (Xiaomi Mi Scooter) to fill in for the last mile, and to travel with as I am car-less, by choice, resident who relies on active transportation modes.
    E-scooters, like e-bikes, would be perfect for contained municipalities who have a healthy population of commuters. Living on the Long Beach barrier island with the largest amount of commuters who bike & skate to the LIRR, it’s a no brainer. Many residents already own e-bicycles and e-skateboards, segways, etc. We also have Social Bicycles dockless bike share, owned by JUMP Bikes (UBER). We could be a model city for commuter e-modes if only Albany would move out of our way…

    What’s stopping these e-modes? A definition- literally.

    Long Island Streets, People for Bikes, Transportation Alternatives, Biking Public Project, NY Bicycling Coalition…great organizations who have actively lobbied local and state leaders to define e-bikes for several years. E-bikes, like e-scooters and such, are not illegal or legal but in a funky undefined vortex. The recent clarification of pedal-assist vs throttle in NYC is a big step for some (delivery workers and equity issues are real), but Albany has stalled statewide legislation. By the time Albany catches up, NYC will have logged in more e-scooter rides than e-bikes, a trend that has already happened on the West Coast.

    Any questions on e-modes, please don’t hesitate to reach out…

    Allison Blanchette
    Executive Director
    Long Island Streets

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