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Fierce competition among people getting paid to charge Bird scooter batteries

KBAK/KBFX photo

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Every night at 9, Bird scooters get picked up by dozens of people who get paid to recharge the batteries overnight, but competition has become so aggressive, it's led some chargers to quit.

Adrian Gonzales-Rios started charging Bird scooters the day after they arrived in Bakersfield, earning as much as $140 in a week.

"I just started grabbing them and charging them," Gonzalez-Rios said. "So, pretty much since then, it's been going pretty well."

He's able to locate scooters that need to be recharged using the Bird App. The more drained a scooter's battery is, the more money he can make charging it. But he's seen other chargers around town hoarding battery-depleted scooters at their homes and businesses all day, so by night they can charge them at a premium.

"Today I went to go pick up a a couple scooters and some guy had, probably like, like 10 to 15 scooters just sitting outside," Gonzalez-Rios said, referring to one person he suspects of hoarding.

Scooter charging has already become so competitive in Bakersfield, Carlos Encinas quit after his first attempt.

"It was a waste of time, a waste of gas, and I'm taking a chance of maybe getting a speeding ticket," Encinas said. "I'm trying to make money, not lose money."

He said by 9 p.m., so many chargers are trying to pick up the same scooter, it starts fights.

"You'll have five or six cars at the same spot all trying to maneuver their way in," Encinas said. "It can start an argument."

Gonzalez- Rios agrees it's extremely competitive, but hopes more Bird chargers keep it friendly on the road.

"Just drive safe, because a lot of people are crazy out there," he said.

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