David Mintzer, a fine gentleman who develops mobility apps as a hobby, is the latest proof that not all heroes wear capes.
He has created an app to save Denverites from the hassle of opening six different apps to see where the nearest dockless scooter or bike-share bicycle is located in Denver. His app locates rides from most of the companies currently operating in the city. That’s handy, considering there are now well over 2,800 scooters and bikes from six different companies scattered throughout the city.
Mintzer was inspired to create the app after struggling to find options on his way home from work where car-alternative mobility options were often scarce.
“Mostly I would get annoyed having to open five different apps to find the scooter near me,” Mintzer said. “Why can’t we have one app that shows them all? I’m not a professional developer — I do it as a hobby. I saw this as a net need.”
He doesn’t even ride the scooters. He prefers to ride his bike or hop on an e-bike, but decided to put his skills to use for the culture — the mobility culture.
The free app, named Scooter-Life, shows you the nearest available e-scooter and bike share for Lime, Bird, Jump, Spin and B-Cycle. He says he would have been able to complete the app with all of Denver’s mobility options but he hasn’t been able to get the data he needs from Razor and Lyft bikes — he said he found the Lyft scooter data just this week.
Mintzer says he’s been in talks with Denver Public Works about ways to eliminate this data shortage because it works against the residents of Denver, if we are considering these options to be apart of our mass transit solutions.
“If we’re kind of considering it a mass transit of sorts and not a private enterprise, having the data as accessible as possible is really important,” Mintzer said.
They’re kind of private companies, they’re kind of competing with each other. There’s no incentive for them to work together.”
He noted that unlike other cities like Washington, D.C., Denver’s city government has not made it mandatory for companies to share data publicly if they want to operate in the city. That puts third party developers like Mintzer at a disadvantage and he believes its a real “missed opportunity” for Denver in terms of making alternative transit options convenient and accessible.
Currently the app is only available for Apple products but Mintzer says he would like to crossover to the Android platform as well when he is able to do so.