There are around 1,100 Google bikes on the campus, but 100 to 250 bicycles are stolen every week, according to the company’s estimates. Some of the bikes appear on people’s lawns, at local schools, at the sports pub, and even at the town creek.
Ironically, one of the stolen bikes featured in a TV ad for the cosmetic line Garnier. One Google employee pointed that out to the company.
Locals admitted that they “rent” a Google bike whenever they need one. Even mayor Ken Rosenberg acknowledged using one of the bikes. Some residents believe that offering the free bikes is a “friendly gesture” from Google.
Local Residents “Renting ” the Google Bicycles
Many residents ride the bikes and keep them overnight. One local woman said Google likely doesn’t want non-employees to use the bikes but if people do it anyway “it’s OK” to do it.
According to a resident, entire families jack the free bikes, from grandma and grandpa to their grandsons and granddaughters. You can see extended families riding the bikes on public roads with no qualms of conscience. Local gang kids use the bikes as well.
One of the measures to prevent the bikes from going missing was to install GPS trackers on them. The trackers revealed that some bikes reached Mexico. Google now plans to use an app to lock the bikes.
The company has also hired 30 people whose sole job is to find the bikes and retrieve them from local neighborhoods. The Wall Street Journal has noted that none of these measures has helped the company even estimate the exact number of stolen bikes.
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