Bird is shutting down scooter sharing in several cities in the Middle East. Its operation in the region was managed by Circ, the micro-mobility startup it acquired in January. As a result, approximately 100 Circ employees were laid off. Additionally, 10,000 Circ scooters have been sent to be recycled, according to undisclosed sources. The shut down affects operations in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 Circ scooters have been sent to EnviroServe to be recycled. The UAE-based company recycles electronics and other products. However, Bird explained that it is not leaving the Middle East. Instead, the company said it is “pausing operations” and plans to return to the region in the fall. The company is still operating its service in Tel Aviv.
“We have temporarily paused operations in other parts of the Middle East as they become increasingly hotter at this time of the year. During this pause, we are taking the opportunity to responsibly recycle parts of the old Circ fleet that were previously used in the region. Following extreme wear and tear, the Circ vehicles no longer met our rigorous quality standards,” Bird said in a statement.
Although, a source told Techcrunch that almost 1,000 of the Circ scooters were new. Several companies offered to buy the Circ-branded scooters but Bird declined these offers.
In the past two months, the micro-mobility industry has seen tens of thousands of electric scooters and bikes scrapped globally. Companies are pulling back in an effort to cut costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shutdown, or “pausing of operations”, comes less than six months after Bird acquired its European counterpart and began its expansion plan.
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