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San Francisco, USA

 

Skip Scooter

Last week, I have tested Scoot, Jump Bike and Muni. Today, I got a chance to try the other scooter provide Skip. Sign up was quick. You will need to enter your credit card number and let them take a picture of your driver license using the app. Skip's app is bare bone. The only function is to show you locations of nearest scooters and to unlock one in front of you by scanning the QR code.

Disclosure: my employer Uber owns Jump Bike.

The first step to use Skip was to hunt down one. The app has no reserve function. There is no option to have them start charging money and hold it for you. You may need to walk one or two block to pick it up. Then it runs a risk that it will be taken when you get there and you would have wasted your time. During my trip, I stopped at a shop. I intended to keep it to get back. There is no lock function. You either leave it on or you end the ride and make it available to others. In that case, I had to bring it into the stop with me.

  • Time: 25 minutes (w/8 minutes stop)
  • Distance: 3.2 mile
  • Cost: $4.75
Skip Scooter

Skip's top speed gets up to 18mph. It is plenty of speed to get around town, easily beating private cars or Uber (assuming there is a scooter available for you). The ride quality in SOMA street is bad because of uneven pavements. It shook my brain out riding over it at 18mph with the scooter's tiny wheel. I even questioned its stability in such environment. This rough experience resembled the one I had with Scoot last time. For this reason I still strongly prefer bikes. I suspect most people like electric kick scooter only because it needs zero exertion.

Mobility Service pricing

I spent almost $5 for an half hour of use. This is not at all a bargain. Don't be mistaken by the $1 starting price. I did some research and compare it to other mobility services. Kick scooter's pricing scheme actually makes it the most expensive for all but the very short trips. You can see from the chart above, after about half hour of use, it cost exceeds even the motor scooter with $4 starting price. Jump Bike stand out with a most reasonable price scheme.

2018.10.26 comments

 

Bike vs Scooter vs Bus

The electric scooter come back to San Francisco street this week. The two companies that's licensed are Scoot and Skip. Today I needed to make a shopping trip to SOMA. Scooters seemed ideal. I was excited to try them out.

Disclosure: my employer Uber owns Jump Bike.

Muni Bus

Unfortunately, there was no scooter available near me. No shared bikes either. The bane of shared vehicle is that they are often not available when you need them. Instead, I hopped on a Muni 83X that was coming my way. It was an express bus that drop me off in two stops. Unfortunately, the downtown traffic was horrendous as usual. It only needed to make two right turn into and then out of Market Street. But it was bogged down by endless traffic and a continuous stream of pedestrians. I was stuck on Market St street for a long time. At the end, Muni got the job done. But the average speed was dragged down to mere 6mph.

  • Time: 9 minutes
  • Distance: 0.9 mile
  • Cost: $0 with FastPass
Scoot Kick Scooter

After I was done with my first shopping, I was delighted to find one scooter available on the other side of Brannan St. There was no way for me to just hold on it without starting the trip. I didn't want to risk someone else took it. So I rushed across the street to claim it.

Brannan is not a fancy street. It is barren and lined with industrial style buildings. There was no bike lane. I rode in one of the two traffic lane. The scooter felt very slow compares to cars. Only later when I checked the Strava record did I confirm that it gets to a top speed of 15mph as promised. The other thing I have found out is that Brannan has horrendous street paving. The ride was extremely jarring over the rough concrete, cracks, pot holes, and poorly done patches. The tiny scooter wheels did nothing to absorb the jolts. It was bad enough it felt dangerous at times. The street surface got better on Potrero Avenue. The uphill incline slowed it down somewhat though. The best part of the scooter trip was I stopped right in front of Sports Basement's door. There was no hassle of parking or long walk from bus stops. I ended the trip right there and then walked into the store.

  • Time: 9 minutes (from when I turned it on via the app)
  • Distance: 0.9 mile
  • Cost: $2.35
Jump Bike

When I walked out of the store, the Scoot was already taken away. A Skip scooter was left in its place. But I had bulky purchase. I decided a bike was better. So, I snapped a Jump Bike two blocks away.

The electric assisted Jump Bike is awesome fun to ride. However, the electric power can be somewhat inconsistent. I felt the boost does not turn on reliably when I need it. This one, however, was an energy bunny. I just paddled a little bit and the motor kicked in automatically. I was actually not able to gently cut off the boost unless I brake. The road surface in SOMA seem no better than Brannan St. The metal basket rattles a lot the whole time. But unlike the bone jarring ride on a scooter, the large wheel and wide tire allowed me to take it in stride. I got back to Union Square comfortably and in no time. Jump Bike is my favorite among the three.

  • Time: 13.5 minutes (includes walking time to bike)
  • Distance: 2 mile
  • Cost: $2.17

One more issue about the scooter I want to bring up is its pricing. So far every company charge the same price, $1 plus 15 cents per minute. People pay attention to the $1 number and believe it is cheap. But 15 cents adds up quickly. It is actually the bigger part of the final cost. If you make a 30 minutes trip, it set you back $5.5. This is hardly a bargain.

Follow up (My experience with Skip).

2018.10.18 comments

 

No More Tempered Glass Screen Protector

I have finally removed the tempered glass screen protector from my phone. Shortly after I installed it, I noticed a fine crack appeared. I did not drop my phone. The touch surface remained smooth and there was no problem to use. But the crack looks unnerving. I wasn't sure if the crack is on the protector or on the screen beneath it.

broken tempered glass screen protector

Every month or two, a new crack appeared without any cause. Soon there are multiple cracks all over the place. Finally, I can take it no more. I removed it this morning. The screen protector looks like a car crash.

I replaced it with a simple plastic film protector. It is perfectly smooth as it should be. The same problem happens to my tablet. No more tempered glass screen protector for me.

2018.07.22 comments

 

SF Hill Run 2

I took on the San Francisco Hills again this morning. Besides the usual assualt of Twin peaks and Mt Davidsion, I added Buena Vista Park and Edge hill. The uphill sections are half run and half walk. I chickened out of Mt Sutro. I don't know if I have the stamina to tackle it next time. My legs were on the verge of clamping toward the end. It was a fun morning.

2018.06.03 comments

 

Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities

The pace of technology-driven innovation from the private sector in shared transportation services, vehicles, and networks is rapid, accelerating, and filled with opportunity. At the same time, city streets are a finite and scarce resource.

These principles, produced by a working group of international NGOs, are designed to guide urban decision-makers and stakeholders toward the best outcomes for all.

  1. We plan our cities and their mobility together.
  2. We prioritize people over vehicles.
  3. We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs, and land.
  4. We engage with stakeholders.
  5. We promote equity.
  6. We lead the transition towards a zero-emission future and renewable energy.
  7. We support fair user fees across all modes.
  8. We aim for public benefits via open data.
  9. We work towards integration and seamless connectivity.
  10. We support that autonomous vehicles (AVS) in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.
Mobility Service Providers
Mobility Service Providers

The Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities were developed in 2017 by Robin Chase, Zipcar co-Founder, and a consortium of leading city and transport organizations. I'm proud of Uber to be part of this movement.

2018.03.23 comments

 

REI stop selling major outdoor brand with NRA ties

REI, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, stop selling major outdoor brand with NRA ties. It announced that it would no longer be ordering CamelBak, Bell, Giro or any other of the 50 Vista Outdoor brands to sell in its stores.

Let's see. I own a knock off CamelBak hydration pack, not the original. And I have a Giro helmet from 10 years ago. I am not going to buy from these brand from the time being. Guns are lethal weapons. I prefer to buy my merchandise not from people with association with gun makers and NRA.

I will make my next purchase in REI for appreciation.

2018.03.03 comments

 

Long Now Member

Long Now Member

I have been meaning to do it for a while. Now I finally become a paid member of Long Now.

2018.02.16 comments

 

Awesome Jump Bike

I made my first trip with JUMP bike last night. Their bikes are AWESOME! I'm a hardy bicyclist. I ride all over the city and charge up hills with gusto. I own another electric cargo bike myself. It makes it practical for me to carry my child to Presidio and conquer the hill in the middle.

Jump Bike

Still JUMP bike impress me the moment I begin. As soon as I step on the pedal, the electric motor deliver an oomph that push the bike forward from complete stop, precisely when I need the boost most. Riding around town is quick and relatively effortless. Reservation, unlocking, and completing the ride work seamlessly. It only cost me $2 per ride. Dockless bike sharing is the way to go. JUMP bike is a wonderful choice I highly recommend.

2018.02.02 comments

 

Reading Backlog

books

I gathered a whole stack of books in front of me. These are a selection of books I have bought but have yet to read. There are also a handful of books I want to re-read. My new year resolution is to make significant deduction of them in a year. [more...]

2018.01.06 comments

 

Anti-intellectual

Here is a great quote from Bertrand Russell. His target is the French philosopher Henri Bergson, but it just as applicable to anyone from the anti-intellectual fraction. [more...]

2017.10.08 comments

 

2017 SF Marathon

5am on Embarcadero, the still dark boulevard was bustling with athletics preparing for the run. It took 30 minutes for my middle wave to propagate to the starting line. There the bell ringer ringed the ceremonial cable car bell. Ding. Ding. Ding. Off we go. [more...]

2017.07.29 comments

 

Street life abound in Mandalay, so long if you aren't killed by traffic

I have taken a short walk in the streets of Mandalay. The busy street were full of activities. Open air food stalls are all over the place well liked by locals. The streets are lined with all kinds of small businesses. Motorcycles crisscross the streets carrying people to all the places. [more...]

2017.06.14 comments

 

Sleeping in hotel

When I go to vacation, I usually packed the days with activities. I spend all these time and money to go to a faraway places, I want to make the most of my time. I usually use the hotel mainly for sleeping. [more...]

2017.06.09 comments

 

Presidio Heights Development

With CPMC’s California Hospital Campus at 3700 California slated to be shuttered and relocated to the new Van Ness campus, TMG Partners is pushing forward with plans to redevelop the campus at Presidio Heights into residential. [more...]

2017.04.06 comments

 

Intel Drone

Intel is so longer a semiconductor firm selling microprocessors only. It is going into the commercial drone business. The company will begin selling a heavy-duty drone for industrial use such as as inspecting power lines, construction zones or oil and gas rigs. The market could be worth about $6.6 billion worldwide by 2021. [more...]

2017.04.02 comments

 

Learning to Quit

I have been an avid learner of MOOC courses since this format debut in 2012. It is often said, despite the large number of people signed up, most did not complete the course, that is if they started at all. Few turned in home work or did any required work. Even fewer went through tests and exams. At the end no more than 5% of students would have completed all lectures, home works and exams. [more...]

2017.03.22 comments

 

Duck Pond It Is Not

Duck Pond It Is Not

I swear this is not a lake. Look at the tree stumps. They used to be a shaded parkland where we can sit to watch the kids play. Rain runoff has filled up this part of the park, turning it into a swamp. Now ducks have discovered it. They are quite at home in this new pond. [more...]

2017.03.06 comments

 

Golden Gate park Half Marathon

So I completed my first half marathon yesterday from the Golden Gate park, along with other 5,000 participants. I got a blister a few days before the race. And I was anxiously checking an impending storm forecast to hit on the day. None of this has affected it. It was a fabulous day. The weather was great the energy was superb. I thoroughly enjoyed it. [more...]

2017.02.06 comments

 

Sundance notes 4

I had an awesome last day in Sundance, watching three award winning films back to back. [more...]

2017.01.29 comments

 

Sundance notes 1

Really excited to be in the Sundance festival for the first time. I saw some good movies and met a bunch of people. Here are some of my notes [more...]

2017.01.28 comments

 

past articles »

 

BBC News

 

Chicago hospital shooting: Medical staff and policeman among four dead (20 Nov 2018)

 

Airbnb removes Israeli West Bank settlement listings (19 Nov 2018)

 

'Ditch the witch': Julia Gillard shocked by 'vile' abuse while Australian PM (20 Nov 2018)

 

Jim Acosta row: White House restores CNN reporter's pass (19 Nov 2018)

 

'Drunk' Canadian curlers kicked out of tournament final (19 Nov 2018)

 

Transgender women in India: 'This is how we survive' (20 Nov 2018)

 

Huge waves hit Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands (19 Nov 2018)

 

Sophia Florsch: 'No fear of paralysis' for F3 driver after surgery (19 Nov 2018)

 

UK PM seeks business backing for Brexit plan (19 Nov 2018)

 

Thousands flee as Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts (19 Nov 2018)

more »

 

SF Gate

 

Ship traffic, November 20 (19 Nov 2018)

 

Why the best shopping holiday for travelers may not be Black Friday (18 Nov 2018)

 

Bay Area stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving (18 Nov 2018)

 

‘No morals’: Advertisers react to Facebook report (18 Nov 2018)

 

Ship traffic, November 19 (18 Nov 2018)

 

Delay, deny and deflect: How Facebook’s leaders fought through crisis (17 Nov 2018)

more »


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