Electric scooter company Bird continues to downsize as it announced its machines will be leaving several regions to stay afloat.
That Company says it will “completely phase out”. (opens in new tab) Germany, Sweden and Norway, as well as several “small to medium sized markets” in the United States, Europe, Middle East and Africa, although the exact locations were not mentioned. However, we know one: Atchison, Kansas, which was recently revealed (opens in new tab) that Bird is indefinitely halting all operations in the city. The city said Bird didn’t see Atchison as a good place to “support him.” [its] short-term requirements for building a lasting business.” This reasoning is consistent with the company’s official statement on the job cuts.
Bird cites a “lack of robust regulatory frameworks” in local regions as the reason for his exit. The company claims that some locations aren’t as conducive to its e-scooter business model as others. Support is available in some cities and not in others. Bird then blames the high number of vehicles in those regions, which leads to “congested streets,” as well as fierce competition from competitors, as other reasons for closing the store.
From here, the company will begin weeding out cities it deems unviable to instead focus on those with the “right regulatory framework and business environment.” Unfortunately, this downsizing impacts Bird’s employees in these regions. Although not directly stated in the announcement, Bird alludes to these people losing their jobs.
Fleet managers are missing from the announcement. According to Vogel (opens in new tab), which are the local businesses and entrepreneurs who manage fleets of the company’s e-scooters in their local area. Managers pay a fee to the company and in return can earn income from the machines. They also presumably lose their jobs, which can result in them taking the hardest hit of all. That Fleet manager program has been criticized in the past (opens in new tab) for owing people thousands of dollars for machines they will never actually own. It’s possible for something similar to happen when fleet managers lose their business overnight.
We’ve contacted Bird to see if they’d like to make a statement. A company spokesman reached out to us, essentially repeating what Bird said in its announcement: that it will “focus on cities and countries that have created the right regulatory framework and business environment…”
Unfortunately, Bird’s job cuts continue this year’s trend of tech companies laying off employees. As a matter of fact, back in June (opens in new tab)the company laid off 23 percent of its employees to cut costs. Something similar happens at Microsoft with the company laid off some of its employees, although it was not said how many. (One anonymous source claims about 1,000 jobs will be cut.) Similarly, companies like Meta have enacted hiring freezes to stay afloat during these trying times.
The particularly unfortunate thing about bird downsizing is that it affects the customer as well, since people lose a means of transportation. If you find Bird Scooters disappearing in your area, we encourage you to stop by TechRadar’s best e-scooter list for 2022 to get an idea for a more permanent solution.
https://www.techradar.com/news/bird-downsizing-pulls-e-scooters-from-select-european-countries-and-us-cities Bird downsizing pulls e-scooters from select European countries and US cities