Uber, Lyft and a bevy of other electric scooter companies have been the stars of the 2019 South by Southwest conference with thousands of scooters whizzing around Austin, Texas.
Among the key players are startups Bird and Lime and ride-sharing giants Lyft and Uber, which operates a scooter brand called Jump. There’s also Spin, which was acquired by Ford in November for a reported $100 million.
Since the rise of electric scooters in early 2018, Austin has emerged as one of the cities most quick to adopt the new form of transportation. There are currently nearly 9,000 of these vehicles scattered across the Texas capital, according to city data. But SXSW has served to introduce the scooters to attendees from around the U.S. and abroad. More than 324,000 attendees came to the conference from outside of Texas in 2018, according to SXSW demographics data.
What’s exciting about the festival here in Austin is that wherever you want to go at anytime in any place you can hop on a scooter and that’s really the vision of micro mobility,” said Ben Bear, Spin chief business officer. “It’s a service that’s flexible that’s efficient that’s fast that’s fun that’s cheap but then you can rely on.