The world today is currently governed by strict sanitary protocols, social distancing, and checkpoints. While many areas of affected countries remain under lockdown as people race through time in an attempt to mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19. Majority of public transit systems are greatly affected by this change. Non-essential trips and assemblage are temporarily prohibited, along with many other restrictions. In a matter of days since the pandemic began wreaking havoc, transportation services, as well as e scooters, micromobility companies and municipal bikeshare systems, are experiencing notable drops in ridership.
Micromobility Businesses on Pause
Even with these ongoing unfortunate events, frontliners, are still obligated to travel to work. They are highly reliable on mobility scooters in order to make ends meet. Micromobility, despite being down overall, has recently become a lifeline for people who need to make essential trips during these trying times. The term refers to a means of transportation solution that covers short distances. This includes small, lightweight devices such as bikes, electric scooters and e-bikes. Vehicles that can cover up to 25km/hr, making it ideal for 10km trips. Cities across the globe are finding more ways to support this sudden drift in the transportation of choice on their streets.
E-Scooters Return: Ride Hailing Companies
Rival companies like Uber and Bolt are expecting a brighter future for participant industries once the viral threat abates. Early in May, Uber, an American ride-hailing company that offers ridesharing, food delivery services and micromobility system, invested $170 million in scooter company Lime, making it the leading investor in the funding round. This deal promised Lime Uber’s micromobility subsidiary Jump, allowing the transfer of the electric scooter and bike division as both companies further regulate their apps.
Its European rival Bolt on the other hand, is preparing to provide 45 different European and African cities with electric scooters this coming summer. This occurred days after Uber released a report regarding the massive dismissal of 14% of its company, around 3,700 of its employees in order to cut costs for COVID-19 as usage has been dipping downward.
Last March, as lockdown measures took in effect, the gig economy was greatly impacted. Uber and Lyft, its main rival in the U.S., experienced a significant decline as fewer people were booking drivers. Despite this drop, both companies are nonetheless discouraging the use of their services, reminding the public to travel only when necessary.
Food Delivery Services
On a lighter note, food delivery services are seeing a surge in its usage. As people remain in their homes while cities remain in quarantine. In the midst of constantly changing regulations, many people have limited access to familiar food service. This might make it up for Uber’s loss in their quarterly earnings in the first few months of 2020. Gaining an approximate increase of 10% in sales in March. As the company continues to gradually flourish in other departments. The investment made in Lime is a declaration of its firm belief that micromobility businesses will once again make its comeback.
As mentioned, Bolt has launched plans to deploy electric scooters in selected cities. The said company is attempting to follow the footsteps of its rival by capturing a wide audience with on-demand logistics and transportation service, including food delivery. Unfortunately, it also fell victim at the hands of the pandemic. Despite the 75% plummet in its sales mid-March, the company has not made any cuts to its staff and has sought support from the Estonian government instead. This puts a highlight to a different direction for ride-hailing firms stateside.
Electric Scooter Recovery After the Pandemic Lockdown
As some cities begin to ease their lockdown measures, various cities in Europe are slowly coming up with newer ways to open its streets. More pedestrian-centric environment, allowing alternative travel options. Take Milan, for example. The city plans to reduce car usage as a way to decongest traffic by turning its streets more admissible for bicycles and scooters. In other news, the deployment of e-scooters for trial will commence in the UK. Greater investments will be made in the hopes of developing cycle lanes. An ambitious move on the part of the UK. But could open up more market opportunities for electronic scooter companies. Across Europe, it has been one of the last countries that has not allocated and managed e-scooter on its streets.
Birmingham and Coventry to Roll In E-Scooters
Britain’s most car-centric areas, Coventry and Birmingham have long histories of automobile manufacturing and high car ownership. It would therefore cause a great impact on the micro mobility market. Given that the e-scooter trials would be first conducted in these cities.
British transport secretary Grant Shapps has already given the thumbs up in a press briefing on May 9 for the proposed trial of e-scooters. The city has already reserved £2 billion for the purpose of boosting a pedestrian-centric environment. They allocated £250 million for developing cycle ways and expanding sidewalks. Moreover, the public body responsible for integrating transport services in the West Midlands metropolitan county. Transport for West Midlands (TFWM) also gave the green light in launching the said trial. Utilizing micromobility devices could reset the way people travel from one place to the other all while battling climate change.
E-Scooters in UK
UK considered e-scooter legal when used on private property. Allowing this trial to take place in the selected cities can provide transport solutions for many. Offering more flexible and greener travel options as individuals complete their day-to-day tasks. This opportunity can also unfold answers for transport problems presented during these trying times.
As the first Future Mobility Zone in the UK, the West Midlands had been developing transport solutions that involve electric vehicles. Very light railway systems and enhanced digital services. Portsmouth, Southampton, Derby and Nottingham are among others that are also attempting to accomplish the same advancement. Their objective is quite simple: transport innovation that not only could provide alternatives for short-distance journeys and lessen traffic. Also one that could contribute to a greener environment.
Our present situation may very well be a major turning point for electric scooter companies. As essential trips became difficult since the pandemic came into play. The shift in transport preference is evidence that micromobility services can endure and continue. A practical choice for commuters as they venture in a post pandemic world.
Visit our website for more information on e-scooters after the lockdown.