Bird is exiting three European countries — Germany, Sweden, and Norway — as well as “several dozen” small- to mid-sized cities in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The cash-strapped shared scooter company also said it would be laying off an undisclosed number of employees in the affected markets, though it declined to share which cities it would be leaving.
Bird said the decision to exit these markets was motivated by a plan to achieve financial self-sustainability. Under this plan, Bird would close shop in cities that lack “a regulatory framework necessary to facilitate the development of an innovative, competitive, self-sustaining micromobility industry.”
It has become clear that some markets lack such a framework, resulting in an oversupply of vehicles that has led to overcrowded streets and a high but frequently rotating number of competitors. All this invariably leads to sizable losses for operators who, as a result, cannot afford to invest and continue to make micromobility safer and more sustainable.
Bird also called the decision “difficult” but said it remains “optimistic” about the prospects of future growth and that it plans to redouble its efforts in cities with mature regulatory systems in place.
“We are not disclosing which small to mid-sized markets in the US and other countries have been affected as of right now,” a spokesperson for the company said when asked to clarify which cities it would be exiting.
The news comes on the heels of a massive shakeup at Bird that saw the company’s founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden replaced by president and chief operating officer Shane Torchiana. (VanderZanden remains chair of the board.) Several other executives have left in recent months as the company’s financial outlook continued to worsen. In June, the New York Stock Exchange warned Bird it was at risk of being delisted if its stock continued to trade under $1.
It’s ironic that Bird would cite the absence of regulations as its reason for leaving certain cities, considering it was one of the first companies to take advantage of the lack of any clear rules around dockless vehicles to launch its shared scooter business.