Usain Bolt, a renowned Jamaican sprinter, co-founded a firm that has now ran out of money, abandoning hundreds of broken electric scooters and bicycles all over the US.
Over the past few weeks, Bolt Mobility has abruptly ceased operations in eight US locations, leaving behind expensive mini-electric vehicles that can only be unlocked through its now-defunct mobile app.
According to TechCrunch, there are abandoned Bolt cars in Portland, Oregon, St. Augustine, Florida, Richmond, Virginia, Richmond, California, Burlington, South Burlington, and Winooski, Vermont.
According to Robert Goulding of Burlington’s public works department, “all of our contacts at Bolt, including their CEO, have gone radio silent and have not answered to our emails.”
In a similar vein, Bolt “went out of business without prior notification or removal of their capital equipment from public property,” according to Richmond, California Mayor Tom Butt’s July letter.
Butt continued, “The City is developing a strategy to remove all the abandoned machinery.
According to Crunchbase data, Bolt, which Usain Bolt co-founded in 2018 with the goal of “revolutionising transportation through safe, smart and sustainable transit solutions,” had garnered more than $40 million from investors.
According to a statement on Bolt’s website, the company was forced to “substantially reduce back operations” on June 30 because projected investment from investors “failed to materialise.”
According to the firm, independent owners who are in charge of the operations in 25 other markets that use the Bolt brand are continuing to run the bikes and scooters that were formerly directly operated by Bolt in eight locations. A request for response from Bolt was not immediately complied with.
According to Electrek, Element LEV, the company that made the e-bikes used by Bolt, is collaborating with local authorities to recover the bikes and eventually put them back into use.
In order to promote Bolt in 2019, the eight-time Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica visited New York City. While there, Bolt posed for photos in front of City Hall and called on the city’s leaders to legalise e-scooters.
“When I get late somewhere, the first thing people always ask me is, ‘Why didn’t you run?'” Bolt joked at the time, “So now I actually have the Bolt scooter to get there quicker.
Bolt, which should not be confused with a different Estonian mobility firm and an American payments company with the same name, was not chosen to take part in the shared electric scooter trial programme in New York City last year.
Instead, the Department of Transportation authorised three competitors — Bird, Lime, and Veo — to run shared scooter operations in a number of Bronx communities.