Electric scooter company Bird continues to downsize as it has announced that its machines will roll out of various regions in an effort to stay afloat.
O company says it will “go out entirely” (opens in new tab) Germany, Sweden, and Norway, as well as several “small and medium-sized markets” in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, though it didn’t mention which exact locations. However, we do know of one: Atchison, Kansas, which recently revealed (opens in new tab) that Bird is pausing all operations in the city indefinitely. The city goes on to say that Bird did not see Atchison as a good place “to support [its] short-term requirements to build a lasting business.” This reasoning is in line with the company’s official statement on downsizing.
Bird says the reason for his departure is due to the “lack of a robust regulatory framework” in the local regions. The company claims that some locations are not as conducive to its e-scooter business model as others. Support is available in some cities but not others. Bird then blames the high amount of vehicles in those regions leading to “overcrowded streets” along with stiff competition from rivals as other reasons to close shop.
From here, the company will start weeding out cities it deems unfeasible to focus on those with the “right regulatory framework and business environment.” Unfortunately, this reduction will affect Bird employees in these regions. While he doesn’t say this directly in the ad, Bird alludes to these people losing their jobs.
Absent from the ad is any mention of fleet managers. According to the bird (opens in new tab), these are the local businesses and entrepreneurs who manage the company’s e-scooter fleets in their local area. Managers pay a fee to the company and in return they can earn an income on the machines. Presumably, they are also losing their jobs, which could result in them taking the hardest hit of anyone. O fleet management program has been criticized in the past (opens in new tab) for putting people into thousands of dollars in debt for machines they will never actually own. It is possible that something similar could happen to fleet managers losing their business overnight.
We reached out to Bird to see if they would like to make a statement. A spokesperson for the company came back to us and essentially reiterated what Bird said in its announcement: that it will focus “on cities and countries that have put in place the right regulatory framework and business environment…”
Unfortunately, Bird’s downsizing continues this year’s trend of tech companies laying off employees. In truth, back in june (opens in new tab), the company laid off 23% of its employees as a way to cut costs. Something similar is happening at Microsoft with the company laying off some of their employees, although he did not say how many. (An anonymous source claims that about 1,000 jobs will be eliminated.) Similarly, companies like Meta have enacted a hiring freeze as a way of staying afloat in these difficult times.
The particularly unfortunate thing about Bird’s downsizing is that it affects the customer as much as people are losing a mode of transport. If you find Bird scooters disappearing in your area, we recommend checking ‘s Best E-scooter List for 2022 to get an idea for a more permanent solution.