• Follow us

Automotive

Scooter Startups Are Ditching Gig Workers for Real Employees

In the earliest days of the new scooter-sharing wave, when a company called Bird, run by Uber veterans, showed up in southern California, working in the industry felt a bit like stumbling into the OK Corral. High school students scrapped for the chance to charge or fix scooters for between $10 and $20 a pop. “Mechanics” broke handlebars and wheels so they would be paid to patch them up. “Chargers” hid scooters in their garages until their owners ratcheted up the bounties awarded to catch the strays—then cashed in.

Now the startup Spin is taking a different approach to scooter operations, at least in Los Angeles: Instead of contract workers, it's hiring employees to collect, charge, fix, and redeploy its scooters every day. Those who work more than 30 hours a week are entitled to full benefits: paid time off, health and dental insurance, and commuter benefits. They’ll get a W-2 form come tax season. If the experiment works in LA, where the company has hired 45 people so far, Spin says it expects to hire more workers in other markets as well. It now operates in 12 cities and on eight college campuses in the US. In November, Ford acquired the company for a reported $100 million.

Spin is not the only one moving away from the gig economy. Bird is transitioning from using contractors to hiring salaried workers to fix its scooters in several cities, including San Diego, Dallas, and Austin. (“Bird watchers,” who help repark scooters on the street and manage the larger scoot fleet, are W-2 employees.) Lime hires mechanics as W-2 workers, while its “juicers,” who collect, charge, and then deploy scooters daily, are 1099 employees, paid per scooter.

One big question: How to scale scooter sharing? “It’s working well with 1,000 scooters, but up to 10,500? It’s going to be interesting whether that can hold up,” says Spin's chief business officer.

Spin

Such evolution shouldn’t be surprising in an exploding and crowded market. Bird, Lime, Spin, Skip, Lyft, Uber, Wind, Bolt—hurl a four-letter word, and you’ll probably hit a scooter startup. As they compete for riders, they’re hunting for any possible edge in hardware and software, city relationships, and labor models. Scooter-share is a new business, and not yet a profitable one; this shift is a sign that the companies are still working out the kinks.

“Looking at this market, there has been a tendency for some companies to make it seem like everything is figured out, that the model works perfectly, that the ‘charger’ model, just like the Uber driver model, is the way forward and that’s just the way it is,” says Ben Bear, Spin’s chief business officer. Operations, he says, are at the heart of what Spin does, so it makes sense that the startup is playing with employment strategies while it seeks to expand—and catch up with bigger rivals like Bird and Lime.

Bear is still not sure Spin’s new employment strategy will scale. “It’s working well with 1,000 scooters, but up to 10,500? It’s going to be interesting whether that can hold up,” he says. If not, the company could go back to the contract-worker model. Some people who work as scooter chargers say they enjoy the opportunity to pick up extra cash in their spare time and don’t want a more permanent scooter job.

Spin also seems to think it can get better work from people who are actually on staff. It’s not the first startup to make the shift from contract to employment. Home care company Honor, delivery company Shyp, and parking startup Luxe Valet also switched from independent contractors to employees in the past five years. (Change, though, doesn’t guarantee success: Shyp and Luxe no longer exist.)

“Companies—whether they’re in the grocery delivery space or the package delivery space or the scooter space—started out thinking they would rely heavily on 1099 workers,” says Patrick Kallerman, who directs research at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and has studied “gig economy” labor. “Then they realized that, to increase reliability, quality, customer service, certain parts of the model needed to be changed.” Of course, that comes at a cost: up to 30 percent more in payroll expense, no small line item for companies fighting to become profitable.

Another factor is safety. Consumer Reports found that more than 1,500 people have been injured in scooter crashes since late 2017, and riders have complained of shoddily repaired brakes and handlebars, and scoots that just won’t start. Spin believes it can better control the quality of scoots on the street if it requires mechanics, in its LA warehouse, to follow a list of safety checks every night. (Presumably, so do Lime and Bird, which now both have in-house mechanics.)

In LA, Spin scooter-electronics technician Rashard Wagner begins his shift at 11 or 11:30 in the morning, and leaves at 8 or 8:30 at night. He’s been working at the company for only a few weeks but says he’s enjoying it. The dental, vision, and health insurance certainly do not hurt. “I’m a technical person: I love to troubleshoot; I love to solve problems,” he says. Scooter companies are hoping there are plenty more people like him in every city.

More Great WIRED StoriesGoogle reveals a rare MacOS zero-day zulnerabilityHow Arrivo got Colorado to back this highway schemeI became a robot in London—from 5,000 miles awayThe perfect pair of pants is just a 3D body scan awayBoss acting nicer recently? You may have VR to thank👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our latest buying guides and best deals all year round📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest storiesRead More



Leave A Comment

More News

All Motor Trend Stories RSS

My Lunch With Stefano: Lamborghini CEO Teases Future 2019-03-21 16:30:26I sat down for lunch with Lamborghini’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, on the patio at the Polo Lounge inside the still-posh Beverly Hills Hotel. Dome

2020 Kia Telluride First Drive: New City Name 2019-03-21 16:17:09During my early days at MotorTrend, there was a running joke in the office that our long-term Kia Borrego was abandoned. Long-term test vehicles typic

Hyundai Tucson N Line Brings Suspension, Cosmetic Upgrades 2019-03-21 15:45:43We’ve heard rumors that Hyundai will introduce a high-performance Tucson N making as much as 340 hp. Still no official word on that front, but w

2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe First Look: Porsche Joins 2019-03-21 14:15:10Argue over the semantics if you will, but four-door coupes are a thing. So, too, are four-door coupe SUVs. BMW offers the X6, X4, and X2; Mercedes-Ben

Ford F-150 Excels in IIHS Passenger-Side Small Overlap 2019-03-21 13:14:28The Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, and Ram 1500 earned top scores in the passenger-side small overlap test from IIHS. But the agency says most pickups need

2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo First Test: Fashionable 2019-03-21 04:00:33Since its debut in 2009, the Kia Soul has been winning consumers’ hearts with its combination of usability, youthfulness, and character. Althoug

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec Long-Term Update 3: Soup 2019-03-21 04:00:27Few luxury cars handle my soup as well as our long-term Acura RDX. Driving performance is incredibly important, but entertaining daily drivers will fa

Audi Squeezes More Than 600 HP Out of 2019-03-20 19:45:08Four-cylinder racing engines making big power is nothing new, but a four-banger designed to make big power and last an entire season is. Audi has unve

Volkswagen Boss: VW Needs to Earn “Significantly More 2019-03-20 18:00:21The Volkswagen brand is cutting 7,000 jobs as it prepares to roll out new electric cars, which are less complex to build and don’t require as ma

Ford Invests $850 Million in Flat Rock Plant 2019-03-20 17:00:10Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it is adding production of a fully electric vehicle at a second North American plant as part of its $11 billion invest

New BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Model to 2019-03-20 12:50:06BMW will soon offer a more practical variant of the 2 Series. A four-door version of the small car will make its debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Sh

We Bring a Ferrari 812 Superfast and Dodge 2019-03-20 11:00:39The two big differences between how we test straight-line acceleration versus actual drag racing are surface and tires. When our test team hooks up th

WIRED

How Tesla's Model Y Compares to Other Electric 2019-03-15 19:02:16Elon Musk's latest creation is entering a crowded market. Here's how its specs match those of Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, and more.

How Investigators Pull Data off a Boeing 737’s 2019-03-15 17:15:01Figuring out what happened to Ethiopian Flight 302 may involve baking the black box recorders in an oven, but the information investigators recover ca

Tesla's Model Y SUV Brings More to the 2019-03-15 11:00:00It starts at $39,000, has up to 300 miles of range, and is due out in fall 2020. Oh, and it has a panoramic glass roof.

Liveblog: Tesla Debuts the Model Y, Its Baby 2019-03-15 00:11:00Follow along with us as Elon Musk takes the stage to show off Tesla's latest creation.

How to Watch Tesla’s Model Y Reveal Tonight 2019-03-14 22:59:00Elon Musk takes the stage tonight to show off his automaker’s new baby SUV—here’s what we know and how to stay up to speed.

Boeing's Grounded 737s Won't Cause Massive Flight Delays 2019-03-13 20:45:20The aviation industry is used to disruptions, and knows how to keep customers—especially fancy ones—moving.

Boeing Plans to Fix the 737 MAX Jet 2019-03-13 20:26:04But a plan that seemed straightforward has been complicated by the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

FAA Grounds Boeing's 737 MAX Jet Days After 2019-03-13 15:21:00The agency has banned the 737 MAX jet from flying in US airspace, effective immediately.

Cracking the Devilish Aerodynamics of Newfangled Flying Cars 2019-03-12 07:00:00As outfits like Beta, Joby, and Kitty Hawk explore new kinds of aircraft with pivoting rotors, wings, and more, they must crack the complex problem o

Elon Musk Says Tweeting Is Free Speech in 2019-03-12 00:37:58The Tesla CEO's lawyers argue the SEC has overreached in its attempt to see Musk held in contempt of court over a recent tweet.

Crashed Ethiopian Air Boeing 737-MAX Is Same Model 2019-03-10 14:47:09An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 MAX crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday, evoking comparisons to an Indonesian incident in October.

Electric Minivans at the Geneva Motor Show, and 2019-03-10 09:00:00Plus: Lightweight leather, dune buggies, and a volume knob made from a meteorite.

Automotive news - from

Ford names new CFO, Europe president 2019-03-21 13:11:00Ford has named a replacement for its retiring CFO and a new head for the European operations, among other appointments.

Aston Martin adds distributor for central and eastern 2019-03-21 10:17:00Aston Martin has appointed a Romania-based distributor for that country and central and eastern Europe.

Thatcham Research updates security ratings to include keyless 2019-03-21 08:59:00The UK's Thatcham Research has launched security ratings to help consumers better understand the theft risk of new cars against a back drop of rising

BorgWarner appoints Kevin Nowlan as CFO 2019-03-21 08:35:00BorgWarner has appointed Kevin Nowlan as EVP and CFO, effective 1 April.

Malaysia sales fall 2% in February 2019-03-21 06:31:00Malaysia's new vehicle market fell by 1.8% to 39,838 units in February from 40,563 units in the same month of last year, according to registration da

Indonesia sales fall 13% in February 2019-03-21 06:22:00New vehicle sales in Indonesia continued to fall in February, by over 13% to 81,684 units from 94,260 units a year earlier, according to wholesale dat

Volvo Cars to deploy in-car cameras and intervention 2019-03-21 06:20:00Geely's Volvo Cars has revealed a new step in its ambitions to end fatalities in its cars by addressing the issues of intoxication and distraction.

Volvo Cars introduces Care Key for safe car 2019-03-21 06:19:00Geely's Volvo Cars has launched the Care Key, allowing any buyer to set a speed limit for themselves or other drivers.

Skoda worldwide sales up 4.4% in 2018 2019-03-21 06:16:00Skoda Auto set another record in 2018, the VW Group-owned brand delivering 1,253,700 vehicles, up 4.4%.

Opel and unions agree to trim jobs at 2019-03-21 06:02:00Opel management and the Works Council have reached an agreement in the arbitration board to overcome overcapacity in the Russelsheim en

Daimler and NewMotion offer charging solutions 2019-03-21 05:50:00Daimler is cooperating with Dutch company, NewMotion, which has been developing ideas for the expansion of charging infrastructure sinc

Ford expands BEV capacity in Michigan 2019-03-21 05:15:00Ford is expanding its production capacity for battery electric vehicles at a second North American plant.

High Gear Media Network Feed

2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet spy shots and video New! 2019-03-22 02:45:00A new open-top version of Volkswagen's trendy T-Roc has been spotted. Its sighting follows February's reveal of the high-performance T-Roc R. The T-

Get your swagger on in an armored Mercedes-Benz 2019-03-21 17:00:00The Mercedes-Benz G-Class has made a name for itself over decades for being tough as nails. Yet, it won't stop rifle fire from the factory. For those

Range Rover coupe not dead, coachbuilder picks up 2019-03-21 16:00:00Cost cutting killed the Land Rover Range Rover SV coupe in January before it ever arrived. Don't shed a tear yet, know that it will live to die anoth

Bugatti La Voiture Noire won't be ready for 2019-03-21 15:00:00The Bugatti La Voiture Noire was one of the star debuts of the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, but owners won't see theirs for at least two yea

2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe: Jumping on the fastback 2019-03-21 14:15:00Porsche's Cayenne can soon be ordered in a sleeker, sportier shape thanks to the arrival of the 2020 Cayenne Coupe, which the German performance marq

Bureko 6x6 pickup is a Chevy Silverado on 2019-03-21 13:00:00Perhaps Hennessey Performance Engineering's Chevrolet Silverado-based Goliath 6x6 is too tame. If that's the case, a company based in the Czech Repu

Volvo CEO says safety comes first, even if 2019-03-21 11:53:00Volvo's always had a watchful eye toward safety but now the automaker's wondering if being a Big Brother to drivers isn't a bad thing. CEO Hakan Sa

The story behind Porsche's stunning 917 tribute concept 2019-03-21 11:45:00The Porsche 917 will forever be known as one of the most dominant race cars of the 20th century, but deep inside the halls of Porsche some seven years

BMW M3 spy shots, wide-body Dodge Charger, Hyundai 2019-03-21 11:00:00BMW introduced a redesigned 3-Series last year. That means a new M3 should be just around the corner. Our latest spy shots show a tester for the upcom

Bloodhound back from the dead, record attempt back 2019-03-21 10:00:00The Bloodhound land speed record project is alive and kicking, with the company behind it, Grafton LSR, on Thursday revealing a new livery for the sup

Futuristic Audi EV concept pegged for 2019 Shanghai 2019-03-21 09:00:00Audi has confirmed plans to unveil an EV concept at next month's Auto Shanghai 2019. Rather than previewing a future model in the works, the concept

Faraday Future sells headquarters in leaseback deal 2019-03-21 08:00:00Faraday Future has sold its headquarters in Gardena, California, and is leasing it back for now. Real estate company Atlas Capital purchased the site

The Truth About Cars

Hot Take: You Probably Wouldn’t Have Wanted the 2019-03-21 17:29:18Despite having risen from the grave in 2007, following its brief stint as the Ford Five Hundred, the Taurus has been reburied. The last example rolled

Because We Can: The German SUV ‘Coupe’ Scene 2019-03-21 16:14:15Let it never be said that car companies don’t offer people what they want, because, according to sales data, BMW and Mercedes-Benz haven’t

Next-generation Fiat 500 Confirmed As Electric Only, Old 2019-03-21 15:43:14Following reports that the Fiat 500 would see the inclusion of a new all-electric powertrain in 2020, Fiat Chrysler has confirmed the model will actua

Opioid Addiction to Be Part of UAW Contract 2019-03-21 13:45:09Opioid addiction is on the rise in America and the United Auto Workers wants to confront the problem in its next round of collective bargaining. While

Crash Test Dummies: Ford Tops IIHS Tests, Everyone’s 2019-03-21 13:00:16There are wars being waged on all fronts in the half-ton pickup truck market, from towing prowess to outright power ratings. Not ones to pass up an op

Where Your Author Sells an Infiniti Quickly, Then 2019-03-21 12:19:52Recently, I’ve shared musings about selling my old Infiniti, as well as the coupe or sedan options pegged to replace it. You readers had your he

Here’s the Hyundai Tucson N Line Americans Probably 2019-03-21 11:50:50This is certainly *not* the theoretical hot crossover we referred to in today’s QOTD. It’s not hot; rather, it’s merely ever so mild

Trump to GM: Build, or Get Off the 2019-03-21 10:35:34Speaking against a very high-calibre backdrop at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, President Donald Trump turned up the heat on Ge

QOTD: Wishing for Something Hotter? 2019-03-21 09:11:28Once upon a time, the vehicles populating high school and college student parking lots were a rangy mish-mash of beat-up hatchbacks, faded hand-me-dow

Underneath, It’s a Jaaaag: The Lister LFT-C 2019-03-21 08:09:10Remember Lister? It was the company that turned a Jag XJS into a 200 mph supercar thirty years ago. At the time, that Lister-Jag was capable of beatin

BMW Confirms 2 Series Gran Coupe For 2020 2019-03-20 17:13:40Having already provided Gran Coupe (fastback sedan) versions of the 4 and 6 Series, BMW is planning on doing the same for the “entry level&rdquo

China’s New Buick Encore: Unusually Strong Visual Appeal, 2019-03-20 15:55:26The pint-sized Buick Encore subcompact crossover came to China in 2012, and, judging by the photo directly above, the launch of an updated model in 20

Automotive News Breaking

Porsche adds sporty 'coupe' to Cayenne lineup 2019-03-21 17:55:46Porsche aims to reignite sales of the popular Cayenne crossover with a sportier coupe variant that will square off against the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Veteran FCA powertrain chief Bob Lee to retire 2019-03-21 16:28:03Bob Lee, a 41-year veteran of Fiat Chrysler who presided over several major engine programs such as the Hemi V-8 and the Pentastar V-6, is retiri

GM said to plan $300M investment and new 2019-03-21 15:21:24General Motors will throw a bone to President Donald Trump on Friday by announcing an investment in its electric-car plant north of Detroit after endu

Plea hearing scheduled in U.S. court for former 2019-03-21 14:48:18Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell faces charges of conspiracy to violate labor laws.

If at first you can't sell EVs, at 2019-03-21 14:13:40It's no small thing to get consumers to understand, let alone embrace, a new and peculiar type of automobile. But a little more good-faith effort wou

Tesla sues former employees for theft of data, 2019-03-21 12:32:43Tesla sued a former company engineer, claiming he copied the source code for its Autopilot technology before joining a Chinese self-driving car startu

Family of woman killed by AV sues Arizona, 2019-03-21 11:02:10The lawsuit says the state and city failed to make roadways safe and allowed autonomous vehicles to operate in an unsafe manner.

Ford hires Amazon vet to succeed Shanks as 2019-03-21 09:09:19As part of changes to its global leadership team, Ford said CFO Bob Shanks, 66, will be replaced by Tim Stone, a two-decade veteran of Amazon and form

High-tech cars, partnerships driving BlackBerry’s rebirth 2019-03-21 06:45:52Investments by the auto sector in autonomous technology are paying dividends for the once-struggling smartphone company.

Volvo CEO predicts huge increase in plug-in hybrid 2019-03-21 06:36:02Volvo's CEO expects a huge increase in its plug-in hybrids sales after the automaker underestimated demand for its growing family of electrified

IAV Automotive hires new president 2019-03-20 13:32:41Mike Kenhard, 46, oversees North American product and services growth, IAV said. The supplier aims to continue its powertrain development and software

Ford to build some EVs in Michigan, next 2019-03-20 11:39:54Ford has changed its North American production plans for autonomous and electric vehicles, again. The automaker said its Flat Rock plant near Detroit

autoevolution news

Honda NSX vs. BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63: New! 2019-03-22 13:57:462018 and early 2019 were dominated by the competition between these performance sedans, the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63 S. Sometimes, the Porsche Pana

Car Thieves Steal Woman’s Car But Help Her New! 2019-03-22 13:53:01And they say chivalry is dead! Two men from Glendale, California, both with priors and outstanding warrants, were arrested after they carjacked a woma

BMW iX3 Spied Winter Testing, Looks Like an New! 2019-03-22 12:08:07Premium automakers have been taking electric cars much more seriously, each conducting its own research and dumping billions of development euros. Thi

2019 Chevrolet Onix Redline Sedan Revealed In China New! 2019-03-22 08:46:32After a glimpse of the all-new Onix, the 2019 Chevrolet Onix went official in China on the GEM. “The what now?” Global Emerging Markets is

Buddhist Leaves Lucky Buddha “Armor” at Home, is New! 2019-03-22 08:32:48A tuk-tuk driver from Thailand, famous around the world for never leaving home without his lucky Buddha “armor,” was killed by a truck whe

Idiot Driver Brake Checks Cyclist, Has Him Smash New! 2019-03-22 07:59:17The latest in douchebag trends seems to be filming yourself while you brake check cyclists or you intentionally ram them with your car, then pretend t

JetBlue Pilots Sued For Drugging, Raping Flight Attendants New! 2019-03-22 07:24:56Two pilots from JetBlue are being sued for drugging and raping 3 flight attendants working for the same company, during a layover in Puerto Rico. The

Man Caught Trying to Smuggle Tortoises as Chocolate New! 2019-03-22 07:02:58There’s no limit to people’s inventiveness when it comes to breaking the law, as an elderly passenger flying into Berlin proved earlier th

Tuned BMW M5 Drag Races Lamborghini Huracan, The New! 2019-03-22 06:11:25We've talked about the drag racing potential of the F90 BMW M5 on multiple occasions. However, no Internet detail can prepare the owner of a supercar

V6 Turbo Diesel Showdown: Volkswagen Amarok Drag Races New! 2019-03-22 05:28:47When Volkswagen came out with the Amarok in 2009, everyone loved the mid-size pickup truck. The same can be said a decade later, more so with the intr

Ford Adds 550 Jobs In Kentucky Truck Plant New! 2019-03-22 03:53:01If you’re in the market for a full-size SUV with truck underpinnings and convenience for the whole family, it’s hard to go wrong with the

Toyota Official Confirms Second-Gen 86 Sports Car Is New! 2019-03-22 03:49:24Not that long ago, the Internet was alight with rumors in regard to the dismissal of the 86. Toyota shot the hearsay down, and so did Subaru, on multi


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.