I’ve been in Indianapolis a couple times in the last month or so and both times noticed people using those dockless scooters. In the downtown area in fact, I saw more people on scooters than bicycles. I don’t think I saw a single person using bike share bikes on these trips.
It’s interesting to see the new mobility items that have gotten traction in different size cities. Cities like Indianapolis, which is much more representative of the country than say SF or NYC, have seen limited uptake on car share as far as I can see. They also haven’t become huge bike share markets. By contrast Uber-Lyft are revolution in these sprawly places that never previously had much in the way of taxi service.
Dockless scooters seem to have hit the mark. They essentially allow accelerated walking, similar to the 2x speed mode on podcasts. In these cities, with spread out developments and a limited culture of walking, the scooter is great to connect points that are say half a mile to a mile or two away. And the dockless feature makes them super-convenient.
I tweeted about what I saw and people from other cities responded to say they were observing the same thing. I thought the dockless scooters were a gimmick. But maybe they are just not applicable in cities like NYC, without room for them and where there are already many high quality mobility options. (I personally rarely do much other than ride the subway or walk).
It will be interesting to see how these play out in the longer term but for right now the dockless electronic scooters appear to be a hit in a certain type of city.