Electric scooter company Bird continues to downsize as it has announced that its devices will be moving out of several regions in an effort to stay afloat.
The The company has stated that it will be fully exited (Opens in a new tab) Germany, Sweden and Norway as well as several “small and medium-sized markets” across the US, Europe, Middle East and Africa, although it did not mention exact locations. However, we do know one: Atchison, KS, which recently revealed (Opens in a new tab) This bird stops all operations in the city indefinitely. The city goes on to say that Bird did not see Atchison as a good location to “support him [its] requirements in the near term to build a permanent business.” This reasoning is in line with the company’s official statement on downsizing.
Baird states that the reason for her exit was due to the “lack of a strong regulatory framework” in local areas. The company claims that some sites are not as favorable to the e-scooter business model as others. Support is available in some cities but not others. Bird then goes on to blame the large number of vehicles in these areas leading to “crowded streets,” along with intense competition from competitors as other reasons for store closures.
From here, the company will start getting rid of cities it considers unviable to focus instead on cities with the “right regulatory framework and business environment”. Unfortunately, this downsizing will affect Bird’s staff in these areas. While he doesn’t say it explicitly in the ad, Bird hints at these people losing their jobs.
The ad misses any mention of fleet managers. According to Bird (Opens in a new tab), these are the local businessmen and corporations who operate fleets of company e-scooters in their local area. The managers pay a fee to the company and in return they can earn income from the machines. Presumably they lose their jobs as well, which could take them the hardest blow from anyone. The The Fleet Manager program has been criticized in the past (Opens in a new tab) To put them in thousands of dollars in debt to machines they would never own. Something similar could happen with fleet managers losing their business overnight.
We’ve reached out to Bird to see if they’d like to make a statement. A spokesperson for the company came back to us and basically reiterated what Bird said in his announcement: that it would focus “toward 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 fact, back in june (Opens in a new tab)The company laid off 23 percent of its employees as a way to cut costs. Something similar is happening at Microsoft with the company laying off some of its employees, although he did not say how many. (One anonymous source claims that about 1,000 jobs will get the axe.) In a similar vein, companies like Meta have enacted hiring freezes as a way to stay afloat in these tough times.
The particularly unfortunate thing about downsizing birds is that it affects the customer just as much because people lose out on transportation. If you find bird scooters disappearing in your area, we recommend leaving TechRadar’s Best E-Scooter 2022 List To get an idea for a more permanent solution.