Rats, trash, filth, action! Perhaps that’s what comes to mind when most people think of public transportation. For as long as people have congregated together, communal transportation such as the metro system, bus, or train has carried a negative stigma as something usually to only be used as a last resort.
Public scooter and bike companies such as Lime and Bird have not only knocked the stigma of public transportation, but have created a new, young, hip version that people actually want to use. With these specific scooters, it’s not about mundanely getting from place to place, but having an experience along the way. Lime and Bird provide simple steps in order to activate their scooters; download the app, use it to find a scooter around you, scan the barcode and active it to your smartphone, and enjoy!
While it is considered public transportation, it also raises the question – is it really public? While the price is seemingly affordable, the Brand strives to speak to something different. Bird for example uses their specific Brand name to convey the idea of freedom, adventure, and speed. The sleek, black, retro look, paired with the simple, strong, singular word “Bird” creates an modern idea of what transportation should be – luxurious. Only available to those who have smartphones, a credit card, and live near a metropolitan area, it quickly becomes less and less accessible and works to make itself simultaneously feel obviously convenient yet uniquely eccentric and exclusive.
Obviously, Bird is much more affordable than buying a car or even buying a monthly pass on most metro-area transportation services like a bus or subway, yet it conveys a more affluent way of travel. In addition, they even have their own Instagram account where they pose their scooters with fit, young, attractive people in hoppin’ locations such as Washington, DC, Denver, and Miami. This places them in centers of culture and reinforces the idea that they are accessible for most while still seemingly reserved for trend setters in the most trendsetting places.