Lyft recently got its skin in the scooter game, throwing another hat into the mobility ring. Depending on where you live, your commute choices have been expanding rapidly, with one of the more popular (and controversial) methods being electric scooters. Not only is this two-wheeled ride service fast and sweat-free, but you can also make money when you choose to scoot.
You may have a friend who always has some scooters charging in their apartment, and you probably give them some flack for it (I have). But your jokes might be slightly premature! Electric scooter suppliers have really given their riders a huge edge.
What does it mean to be a charger? You can currently sign up for this role through Bird, Lime, Skip, and even nominate a charging station for JUMP at your business. E-scooters are part of our shared economy now, creating a dependance on public use as well as public assistance. This is where chargers come in. Each brand has its own term for a charger, but they’re all the same job: Collect low-battery scooters near the end of the evening, charge them wherever it’s convenient you for (and not annoying for others), and put them back out on the streets in the morning for riders!
Sounds simple, but there are some useful tips to know and a couple guidelines required by most companies.
How to sign up
You can do this through each respective app or online. You’ll be asked to fill out basic information like your name, zip code, and contact information and you have to be at least 18 years old. Next thing is to be approved to charge by the company — yes, people have been denied. If you aren’t denied, then you can start charging immediately after approval.
Having the app is necessary to locating scooters once they become available to chargers at 9 p.m., determined to be the slowest time for riders. Then the real fun begins.
Photo by Matthew Suárez
Once the clock strikes 9, it’s fair game — and we mean game. When you’re approved to charge, you’ll have the option to switch to a “charger” view in the app (each company has a different name for this function so it’ll appear as each business has defined). Scooters will show on your map providing everything from its GPS location, battery percentage, time since it was last used, and how much money you can make from charging it.
Pricing is mostly determined by battery life and location. Since scooters can be left places haphazardly, the app can determine how difficult it would be for chargers to find certain scooters. People have even been known to take scooters to their residences, which is why more seasoned chargers will advise you to zoom into the location of a scooter on the map to see if it looks like it’s actually on the street or inside of a building before walking to it. You can also report scooters that are bring held captive so others don’t waste time trying to locate them.
A scooter will be removed from the app once you claim it, so it will no longer appear on the map for pickup. Are you a morning person? If so, you’re in luck. In order to be paid for the full amount of the scooter, you need to have the rides back on the streets by 7 a.m. so people can use them to get to work.
You can collect scooters either on foot or in a car. Before you do either, make sure you’ve prepared a space for the scooters to charge. If you’re using a car, people have advised setting down towels and using a pair of gloves to move scooters in and out of your vehicle.
Uber and Lyft drivers have tried their hands at charging and found they’ve put in less time and gas in order to make the same money they would as a driver. Of course, access is a big key to those who make hundreds of dollars a week charging scooters, so if you’re not really in an area that’s embraced scooting, this might not be worthwhile.
What’s interesting is how micromobility is impacting our shared economy, creating ways for users to benefit from new forms of transit in more ways than one. How has your experience been with using and charging scooters?