Bird scooters: traffic and climate change disruptors or toys for privileged urbanites?

PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — Only three days after Bird Co. dropped off hundreds of sleek black stand-up electric scooters early in the morning, city government issued a cease-and-desist order then took the surprise, two-wheeled Birds captive.

With its more than 10 million e-scooters, Bird is the latest cash-rich tech startup aiming to disrupt traditional modes of transportation and Palm Springs was hardly the first city subjected to a surprise avian invasion.

Eight years after Uber first launched in San Francisco without permission from the city, Bird and its competitors are instigating the latest battles between cities and tech startups. In cities throughout California and elsewhere, the company has taken a page from Uber’s playbook, frequently deploying its e-scooters without warning, sending city governments reeling to try and regulate them and then only later attempting to negotiate the terms of their presence.– Desert Sun

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