Cities across the country (indeed, across the globe) have introduced dockless electric scooters and bikes in an effort to be environmentally greener. These alternative modes of transportation within urban areas are supposed to help “cities meet their goals of reducing carbon emissions and cutting car traffic.”
Oh, yes. Because if people ride electric bikes or scooters, then they’re not burning fossil fuels or pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, thus leading to the dreaded “anthropogenic global climate change.”
But wait! Don’t these things run on electricity? Why, yes, they do. Where does the electricity come from? In most cases, from burning fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.
Even so, a progressive might say, scooters and bikes that use electricity derived from burning fossil fuels are still “greener” than driving pollution-spewing, gasoline burning automobiles to tool around a city. Right? Well, you might think so at first think. But think about this:
How do these dockless bikes and scooters work? First a rider has to find a bike or scooter to ride. There’s an app for that!
The app allows the rider to find and unlock the bike or scooter, start it up, and begin racking up charges that will go on the rider’s credit card. Upon reaching the destination, the rider leaves the bike or scooter there. No need to return it to the original location. That’s why these things are called dockless.
So far, so good. But if the bikes and scooters are dockless, then how do they get recharged? Therein lies the rub.
Companies hire freelancers, part of the 21st Century gig economy, to locate “low charge” scooters and bikes via an app that knows where they’re parked, to pick them up, to charge them at their own homes, and then to redeposit them at a company-specified location (a hub, not a dock) before a company-specified time.
Upon doing so, the chargers (aka juicers or watchers) “collect their bounty” for services rendered–anywhere from $4 to $20 per charged bike or scooter.
The chargers drive automobiles, SUVs, vans, or trucks, sometimes hauling trailers, in order to collect bikes and scooters for overnight recharging. It’s a free-for-all, with chargers competing with others looking to find and grab the same bike or scooter. It’s likely that more than one charger is headed to the same location to pick up a bike or scooter. Only one will get there first to claim the prize.
The chargers foot the bill for the electricity they put into the bikes and scooters, and they also foot the bill for the gasoline they burn up swarming around in search of bikes and scooters.
Chargers can drive miles in search of a single bike or scooter. One charger reported that when she first began this gig,
she was driving 11 miles per scooter, according to records she kept for tax purposes. As she got more experienced at finding the scooters, she cut that to four miles, or about 25 cents in gas money per scooter.
Does this sound green to you?
What emissions are saved by having commuters or tourists ride electric bikes and scooters around an urban area only to have someone else, at night, under cover of darkness, drive a gasoline-guzzling, carbon-emission-spewing SUV, truck, or van to the same place to pick up the bike or scooter, drive it to their own home, and then drive it to a hub the next day?
This scheme has to use a lot of energy, maybe even more than would have been used had the riders simply used their own car or rode a bus.
What a freaking scam! But hey! It looks good. Cities have created the perception that they’re being green.
Look at all those trips on energy-efficient electric bikes and scooters!
Look at all the carbon emissions reduced!
(Don’t look at what happens at night, when swarms of gasoline-powered vehicles circle a city, in search of “green” bikes or scooters to recharge. Don’t look at those carbon emissions. They don’t count.)
Does this make sense? Is this yet another example of progressive illogic?
What a joke! A joke that’s probably on us, the taxpayers.
One can only imagine what sorts of tax breaks, subsidies, grants and/or start-up funds were awarded to the geniuses who thought up these schemes.
More reading about “global warming” and why progressives promote the myth of anthropogenic climate change here.