Bird leaves three European countries – Germany, Sweden and Norway – as well as “several dozen” small to medium-sized cities in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The money-linked scooter sharing company also said: it would lay off an undisclosed number of workers in the affected markets, though it declined to share which cities it would leave.
Bird said the decision to exit these markets was prompted by a plan to become financially self-sufficient. Under this plan, Bird would close stores in cities that do not have a “regulatory framework necessary to facilitate the development of an innovative, competitive, self-sustainable micromobility industry.”
It has become apparent that some markets lack such a framework, resulting in a vehicle oversupply that has resulted in crowded streets and a large but often varying number of competitors. All this invariably leads to major losses for operators who cannot afford to invest and continue to make micromobility safer and more sustainable.
Bird also called the decision “difficult” but said it remains “optimistic” about prospects for future growth and plans to double its efforts in cities with mature regulatory systems.
“We are not currently disclosing which small-to-medium markets in the US and other countries have been affected,” said a company spokesperson when asked to clarify which cities it would exit.
The news comes on the heels of a huge uproar at Bird, with the company’s founder and CEO, Travis VanderZanden, being replaced by president and chief operating officer Shane Torchiana. (VanderZanden remains chairman of the board.) Several other executives have left in recent months as the company’s financial prospects continued to deteriorate. In June, the New York Stock Exchange warned that Bird was at risk of being delisted if the stock continued to trade below $1.
It’s ironic that Bird cites the lack of regulation as a reason for leaving certain cities, as it was one of the first companies to take advantage of the lack of clear rules around dockless vehicles to launch its shared scooter business.