The sharing economy has made it easier for communities to peer exchange anything from a spare bedroom in your house to car rides and bicycles. But the model doesn’t work for everything, as one umbrella-sharing startup learned the hard way. Just under three months after launch, China-based E Umbrella has reportedly lost almost all of its 300,000 umbrellas available to rent across 11 Chinese cities.
Let the bike races begin. In China, the race just heated up again with a $700 million financing of Beijing-based bike-sharing contender ofo, a startup in China’s vast sharing economy that lately has been focused on convenient, inexpensive and environmental friendly bike shares that rely on smartphone mobile apps for renting and GPS for tracking.
While they want to earn extra cash, senior workers see an added benefit to taking part in the sharing economy: keeping engaged and active. At an age when many older adults feel their worlds shrinking — as they retire from work or after kids leave home — these seniors say their worlds are expanding.
The ‘‘gig economy,’’ popularized by the likes of Lyft, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit, has for years been promoted as an effective way for Americans to make money on their own terms. But new data show that the majority of workers — 85 percent of them — make less than $500 a month, on average, with such services.
Once hailed as a new option in the nation’s push to reduce reliance on cars, the huge number of yellow and orange bikes is now a bane as well as boon. Why should operators get a free ride on infrastructure, for example?
Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft are an increasingly visible presence on San Francisco streets. But until now there has been no comprehensive data to help the public and policy-makers understand the volume, or frequency and coverage of TNC trips or their impact on San Francisco’s streets.
Silvercar, an Austin-based company that is looking to disrupt the car rental business, is coming to Seattle. On July 31, Silvercar will launch its service at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with an opening fleet of 50 vehicles, all Audi A4s. Silvercar said it is more focused on travelers coming to and from the airport than getting people around town the way car-sharing companies like car2go and ReachNow do. In terms of tech-oriented car companies, it is somewhat similar to ZipCar, with designated pickup and drop-off zones.
This Arlington-based company launched last month with a fleet of four electric vehicles that resemble a cross between London’s famous black taxis and giant golf carts. The company is targeting customers who need a lift “when it’s too far to walk but too close to drive.”
Seattle is about to welcome bike share version 3.0 with a pilot program open to applicants and set to run through the end of the year. As many as 10 companies are hoping to launch bicycles under the pilot program, including LimeBike and Spin, and none of them plans to have docks. Instead, the bikes will be free-floating, parked on the sidewalk (out of the walkway) all over the city.
Ride services operate on public streets and should cooperate in efforts to improve them.