EVERETT — For Lisa and Dan Baer, the hunt begins each night at 9 p.m.
When the hour rolls around, phones are out as the couple begins their new nightly routine — dashing around Everett streets searching for e-scooters in need of a charge.
“It’s a little bit of race,” said Lisa Baer.
The married school teachers spent the summer roaming Everett’s downtown picking up the battery-powered vehicles. The white-and-green scooters spend the night in the couple’s garage where they are charged before being redistributed back on city streets before the morning rush begins.
The rentable electric scooters hit the streets in mid-May for a three-month pilot launched by Lime, one of the nation’s leading scooter-rental and bike-share companies. After rave reviews they are likely to stick around.
A crew of about 46, known individually as Juicers, recharge the scooters to keep them moving in Everett.
Combined, these gig-workers have earned about $25,000 during the first three months the scooters have operated on city streets, according to Johnathan Hopkins, Lime’s head of Northwest strategic development. The highest-grossing earner brought home $2,800.
After picking up a scooter, Juicers can either recharge the two-wheeler themselves or drop them off at Lime’s warehouse.
“We don’t expect this to be a full-time job that people are going to survive on,” Hopkins told the Everett City Council recently. “It’s meant to be an extra source of income.”
With ridership exceeding Lime’s expectations, the company has doubled its fleet to 200 scooters since the pilot began. More than 28,000 rides by more than 8,000 users have been taken in the city during the trial run.
The Baers first rode the battery-powered scooters on a San Diego vacation, where they used them to go short distances.
When e-scooters began zooming down streets (and sidewalks) in Everett, they originally thought charging would be an ideal money-making opportunity for their teenage sons. That never panned out, so it became a thing that Lisa and Dan Baer did together, giving them time alone without their three kids.
“It is a little adventure every night,” Lisa Baer said.
Each night, the Baers aim to collect 12 scooters, one for each of their chargers. They work their way south from their north Everett home. Streets are rattled off as the Baers search on the Lime app for scooters close to each other. Juicers can reserve one scooter at time, and have 30 minutes to collect it.
On a mild late August night, the Baers rushed down Rucker Avenue to 24th Street for their first pick-up of the evening. The e-scooters are difficult to spot on the dark streets. Seven scooters can be crammed into the back of their Nissan Leaf. Once the trunk is filled, they return to their house. As Dan unloads, Lisa starts carting the scooters into the garage.
The two trips they make each night to collect their stash takes them about 45 minutes. The next morning notifications will pop-up on their phones — “It’s time to rise and Lime.” — reminding them to redeploy the scooters.
For each charge an Everett Juicer earns $4.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot,” Lisa Baer said. “But all of a sudden you have an extra $700 to $800 at the end of the month.”
They were saving for plane tickets to England for themselves and their two youngest sons to visit their oldest who’s playing soccer abroad this year. Having accomplished that, they are now working toward the costs of hotels during their travels.
They plan to continue their side hustle most nights during the school year. Work is likely to slow down in the rainy months, when riders and scooters dwindle.
Ridership drops significantly if it’s below 40 degrees or raining, according to Lime.
“But at the same time, there might be fewer people willing to go out in the rain and cold to collect the scooters,” Lisa Baer said.
“I might be one of those people,” Dan Baer replied.
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