Have you ever used an electric scooter? Did you know that you can actually rent one for use depending on where you live? There are four companies that provide this service and they all have apps you can download on your phone. Let’s review these apps and figure out the pros and cons of each service.
As it stands in the beginning of 2019, there are only 4 Electric Scooter rental companies that have an app downloadable on both the Apple Store as well as the Google Play Store. All of these companies are expanding so if they’re not yet in your area, just give it time. Maybe you will be on vacation in one of these areas this year and you can check it out!
The Three Major Electric Scooter Rental Companies And One Minor One
There are basic requirements that every electric scooter rental company will have. They will require you to wear a helmet, follow local traffic laws, agree to their terms and conditions, and input a credit card for payment information. You have to be of driving age and have a driver’s license. You can’t let anyone else ride with you. Basically you have to act like a responsible adult when you rent one of their electric scooters.
First we will go through each company’s app and discuss them. Also, did you know that you can make money with some of these apps? Read further!!
Lime – Your Ride Anytime
The green Lime Electric Scooters may be the most visible electric scooters you can find. They are also the largest rental company of the four we are discussing. There are literally thousands of scooters in dozens of cities and college campuses nationwide. There’s too many to list, but you can find their completely location info here. They are mostly concentrated in cities and campuses in California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Texas. However, check out the list because they are continually adding more cities and campuses all across the country.
One additional note: this is the one American electric scooter company that also has rentals across Australia and Europe. Limited availability is also present in Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Singapore. If you’re traveling to one of these locations you should still be able to use your app account.
So how good is the app? Currently on the Google Play Store there are over 1 million downloads with over 31,000 reviews. Based on a cumulative rating, this app is currently at a 4.5/5. They’ve ironed out many of the issues with payment and scooter issues and overall users seem to be very happy with using the Lime app.
The app requires your phone number to activate the app itself. Then once you’re verified by entering a code texted to your phone number the app uses location services to show you your location. I live in the metro Denver area where there are literally dozens of scooters available for rental in numerous locations. I really liked the knowledge of being able to pick out a scooter on the app itself where I can see how much mileage it has left. That was great. If I were to walk a few blocks to an available electric scooter only to find it unusable, I’d be upset.
Once you input some basic information (including a credit card), you’re good to go! There’s also a great How-To animation video that you can watch to help you become confident in operating the scooter. The cost to rent is $1 to unlock the scooter, and then $0.15 per minute afterwards. That roughly translates into $3.25 for a 15 minute ride.
One great feature is that Lime will actually pay anyone who charges the scooter for them in a special program that anyone can join. They’re actually called Juicers! You can scan locations to find scooters with low mileage available, go collect the scooters (they’re light enough to load into a truck or other vehicle), take them home or to some available charging location. Return the bikes to their prior location the next morning fully charged and you earn money! It’s a win-win situation. You get paid by the company for charging and they get their electric scooters kept charged. You do need to sign up to become part of the program. This is a great idea to make money for a college student or someone who wants to earn a little money on the side.
Bird – Enjoy The Ride
Bird is another large electric scooter rental company with a great app. Currently on the Google Play Store, there are over 1 million downloads with a 4.4/5 rating based on over 15,000 reviews! Still a pretty great app and user experience!
There’s a lot more required to get into using a Bird electric scooter rental. Once you activate the app you are required to enter an e-mail address. The next screen that appears is a rental agreement which they require you to read. This is mainly to limit liability for the company but it also serves to inform the rider what you can/can’t do on their scooters. Some examples of prohibited acts are carrying a briefcase or large bag that may alter your balance on the scooter, no cell phone use while operating the scooter, only you can ride the bike, and you can’t be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some other interesting parts to the rental agreement include agreeing to never participate in any class action lawsuit against the company,
They are present in over 100 American cities as well as Tel Aviv, Israel and many locations in Europe. It’s easier to simply go to their website and look at the list of cities to see if they are in your city.
One caveat – you can only see Bird scooters that are within 1 mile of your location. So if there’s isn’t one pretty close, you might have to go looking.
The app does have an extensive FAQ section where they answer virtually every question you may have so that’s a big positive. It also has a money-making scooter charging program they call Bird Chargers.
Cost is the same as Lime, $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute afterwards.
Skip Scooters is a smaller company than the previous two discussed. Currently they are only available in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. They are presently trying out scooter rentals in Portland, Oregon as well. However, for such a small sample size they are apparently doing a great job!
Currently on the Google Play Store the app has over 50,000 downloads with a 4.7/5 rating based on over 1,000 reviews. That’s really good and it shows a promising future for this rental company. One of the best features of the app is an easy to understand photo tutorial of how to ride their scooters.
One of the aspects of their website that I really like was an encouragement and a registration to take scooter lessons. That’s something I didn’t see on the other websites. Clearly they’re trying to create a tie to the company prior to expanding to other areas of the country.
Another positive aspect is that they will help you acquire a helmet if you don’t currently have one. The downside of this is that you still pay a $10 shipping fee. Ranger program
One downside is that they are more expensive than the other rental companies, probably due to the cities they are located. Both of those cities are known to have a very high cost of living.
They also have a charging program called the Rangers where you can earn money charging their scooters. You can sign up on the app.
Spin – Ride Your Way
While Spin is a larger company than the previously mentioned Skip Scooters, they don’t seem to be quite as sophisticated.
Currently there are over 50,000 downloads on the Google Play store and the limited reviews (less than 4,000) present a less than stellar experience. As of late January, 2019, it was rated at a 3.4/5. Currently the major issues seem to be with getting the app to work properly so that people can rent confidently.
They are the same price as Lime and Bird – $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute afterwards.
Currently, Spin is only present in a limited number of college campuses and cities.
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Things To Consider When Riding A Rental
If this will be the first time you’ve ever ridden an electric scooter, you should be aware of a few things. First, it’s best if you have a helmet to wear during the ride. I know most folks wanting to ride a scooter for the first time are not going to have one handy. Still, the Scooter companies recommend that you wear one as well.
Be cautious! No joyriding and no speeding! You are not as good on the scooter as you think you are.
Update November 7, 2018 – Ford Is Acquiring Electric Scooter company, Spin. with plans for expansion and many improvements.
Lime and Bird Have Comfortable Lead On The Pack In Terms of Number of Locations And Quality Of Experience. Skip Is Concentrating On Just A Few Cities But Doing Great. Keep An Eye On Spin. Although They’ve Struggled, Their Recent Acquisition By Ford Motor Company Signals Great Things Ahead.