SALT LAKE CITY — The national craze of electric scooters is rolling through Salt Lake City with two-wheeled, app-enabled transportation devices littering nearly every street corner downtown.
Dubbed “Scootergeddon” in some cities, the billion-dollar businesses seemed to sprout practically overnight in Utah.
Two similar companies, Lime and Bird, offer rides that could not be any hotter among millennials, downtown workers and weekend revelers.
Santa Monica, California based Bird Scooters flew into Salt Lake this past spring and soars in 30 U.S. cities.
Lime Scooters squeezed in from San Francisco around the same time. They are scooting in more than 80 cities in the U.S. and six in Europe.
KSL TV asked twin brothers Matt and McKay Wilcox to help us determine which scooter ride is smoother in a few different categories.
We found a dozen Lime scooters a block away from the KSL Broadcast House in downtown Salt Lake City on Labor Day morning and only one Bird.
This is typical when searching for scooters.
They are dockless and GPS tracked, so designated drop off locations do not exist.
Riders can leave them anywhere after their ride as long as they put the scooter in a safe location that does not impede traffic or block roadways or sidewalks.
Ease of use
We found the Lime app easier to use, and the Bird scooter we grabbed had at least one issue.
“My button stuck, the ‘Go’ button,” McKay Wilcox said.
Lime scooters are larger than the Birds, which provided more stability for the Wilcox twins, but a shorter person might prefer the Bird’s shorter handlebars.
“The Bird, if you’re shorter, is probably easier, and it feels like a scooter you had when you were younger,” Matt Wilcox said.
Both companies’ apps show battery levels before you rent, but some of the Lime scooters also have a digital display showing exactly how much battery life remains. Their scooters also have speedometers.
Lime says scooters have a range of more than 20 miles between charges, while Bird claims their scooters can go 15 miles before refueling.
Both Bird and Lime charge a dollar to rent and 15 cents per minute to ride and allow you to pay as you go.
In our head-to-head competition, Lime prevailed in most categories.
“I thought the Lime was a lot easier to just get on and go,” Matt Wilcox said.
After a short tussle with the Salt Lake City government over operating permits, scooters seem to be here to stay. Two more companies, Skip and Scoot, are looking to set up shop in Utah, and Uber and Lyft are also making plans to expand into the scooter business.