A man prepared to ride a Bird scooter in Providence, R.I., in July. Photo: AP
Uber/Lyft Startups

After Fast Rollout, Scooters Hit Supply Bumps

Photo: A man prepared to ride a Bird scooter in Providence, R.I., in July. Photo: AP

The high-profile electric scooter wars have been waged on the ground in cities worldwide, as nearly a dozen companies including Bird, Lime, Lyft and Uber vie for two-wheel supremacy. Out of public view, the battles also are being fought by air and sea, as scooter operators scramble to purchase the vehicles from Asia to meet surging demand.

Some companies have resorted to sending high-price jets to retrieve scooters or key parts from China and Europe to get the vehicles in time to deploy in cities that have just granted permits, an executive and an investor at separate scooter companies said. Another scooter startup was told by a retailer that Uber or Lyft offered to buy its shipment of hundreds of scooters as the vehicles made their way on ships across the ocean to the U.S.

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