In the USA, the company Bolt Mobilty, co-founded by record sprinter Usain Bolt, rents out e-bikes via an app. Now it suddenly stops working in several cities. With bizarre consequences.
Getting from one place to another at lightning speed – nobody can do that without tools as fast as record short-distance runner and Olympic champion Usain Bolt. The company Bolt Mobility, which he co-founded, is now making a similarly rapid exit in some cities in the USA. And not only leaves clueless customers behind, but also the rental bikes and scooters.
The rental service Bolt Mobilty – not to be confused with the company Bolt, which comes from Estonia and is also active in Germany – offers e-scooters and electric bicycles in selected cities in the USA that can be rented easily via an app. But in the last few weeks there seems to be massive problems. In at least six cities, namely Portland (Oregon), Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski as well as Richmond (Virginia) and Richmond (California), the company has suddenly stopped the service, reports the Techcrunch portal, citing authorities in the respective cities . Apparently there was no advance warning, even the hotline and e-mail support seem to be deserted.
“They practically dissolved into nothing,” Bryan Davis, who is responsible for mobility in Chittenden County in the US state of Vermont, told Techcrunch. Only the bikes and scooters were left. “They left the equipment behind. All calls and emails go unanswered. We can’t reach anyone, but apparently they seem to be closing down in other markets as well.”
There was no advance warning. According to Davis, the county just received an email that Bolt Mobility was closing on July 1. However, the mail came a week after this date. The procedure seems to be similar in other districts. “Unfortunately, Bolt Mobility suspended service without first removing its equipment from the city area,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said on his website. Work is now being done to dispose of the abandoned scooters and bicycles.
What’s going on at Bolt Mobility?
It is not known exactly how the unusually rapid demolition came about. The company appears to have had licensing issues in some of the counties. Portland reportedly lacked the insurance it needed, and some city fees went unpaid. In Richmond, Virginia, the company’s license expired Monday because no effort was made to extend it.
Whether the problems led to the cessation of operations or are a result of internal problems, only Bolt Mobility knows. A manager at the company in Chittenden has reported that the company is closing down entirely and is planning to lay off staff, reports the Burlington Free Press. Confirmation attempts from the newspaper and from “Techcrunch” to the company remained unanswered even after weeks, even targeted inquiries to individual employees and the company management fell flat. Bolt Mobility has been active since 2019 and had opened 48 new locations since January 2021 alone.
Quellen:Techcrunch, Burlington Free Press