How micro-mobility is revolutionising business commutes
E-bikes and e-scooters are playing an increasingly important role in the mobility mosaic in European cities. They’re quick, clean and convenient to use, but are they just for students and tourists, or do they have a place in sustainable corporate mobility plans for both commuters and business travel? Fleet Europe spoke to Hal Stevenson, Senior Public Affairs Manager at Lime, UKI, about the opportunities for micro-mobility.
What share of Lime e-bike rides are commuters cycling to and from work?
“Before the pandemic the majority of our rides were taking place during traditional commuting hours, but we saw usage change when people started to work from home,” said Stevenson.
“In Paris, for example, pre-pandemic journeys peaked in the morning, lunch and evening, but during Covid-19 journeys rose between 3-9pm. This was also true for cities like London as people used our e-bikes as socially distanced, open-air means of transport to meet friends and pop to the shops. Two years on now and our recent data in London is showing a trend towards the return of the office commute using e-bikes once again. This January we saw incredible uptake with almost 45% of our total e-bike trips made between 7-10am and 4-7pm on weekdays, suggesting the office journey is once again back in full swing. It’s great to see so many people opting for active and sustainable travel.”
What provision is there for corporate membership/invoicing for Lime e-bikes and e-scooters, so companies can offer them as mobility solutions to staff?
“At Lime, we want to help replace car journeys by giving everyone easy access to shared and sustainable transport options. We work closely with a number of businesses to help support their teams in achieving this,” said Stevenson.
“Just before Christmas, we partnered with EdTech start-up Multiverse to provide its community of over 5,000 apprentices and staff in the UK with 50% off all Lime e-bike and scooter riders. This is part of our wider Lime Access scheme, which provides eligible riders such as key workers, students and job seekers with unlimited 50% discounts on their scooter or bike rides. We also provided staff at ‘Talk Talk’ in Salford with free 15 minute e-scooter rides on Transport Day during COP26, to show them how they can use sustainable, alternative modes of transport.”
Which mobility as a service apps is Lime working with to integrate its e-bikes and e-scooters in wider mobility plans?
“Our e-bikes and e-scooters are integrated in Google Maps and Citymapper to help make alternative and sustainable methods to travel more accessible,” said Stevenson.
“Our partnership with Citymapper is live in over 21 cities globally, including London, Paris, Los Angeles, Madrid, Berlin and more. It means users of the app can easily locate our e-bikes and scooters, and also makes it clear how they can integrate our vehicles into their journeys. We also provide Citymapper pass users with a limited number of free rides.”
Which cities have delivered the greatest success in converting travellers to e-bikes and e-scooters, and what initiatives did they introduce that other cities could copy?
“We tailor our operations to the needs of every city. We’re the only provider that has won permits and operates across every major European city like London, Paris, Rome and Madrid, and the US too, including New York City, San Francisco and LA,” said Stevenson.
“We’ve seen particular success in our French market. Last year over 200,000 people rode Lime to help us reach 5 million scooter rides and 3.4 million bike rides in Paris. To put into context, that means 1 scooter ride was started every 6 seconds, and 1 bike ride every 9 seconds. These figures are significant and show us how Parisians are increasingly integrating e-bikes and e-scooters into their daily lives. The integration of Lime in Citymapper and Google Maps has been a key in achieving this, with 34% of our trips combining with public transport in Paris. Another key way to help more people choose alternative modes of transport is improved infrastructure, and car free streets. London is a great example of this. We have seen 2-3 times growth in riders in places which have dedicated cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods, clearly demonstrating the role they play in encouraging more people out of cars and onto active and sustainable options. It’s exciting to see more and more cities make commitments to building more protected cycle lanes, and removing cars from their streets too. For example, Berlin's recently announced plans for the world’s largest car free zone.”
Lime in London
Lime has recently announced plans to invest £20million in London over the next 18 month. How will this money be spent?
“A key part of our £20m investment has been bringing our latest generations of vehicles to London,” said Stevenson.
“We have approximately 3,000 e-bikes and over 1,000 e-scooters in London. Since launching in London back in 2018, we’ve delivered over 5 million e-bike rides to date. Almost half were taken during 2021 alone which is a real testament to the fact that Londoners are embracing shared, sustainable transport more than ever. Last Christmas we launched our latest Gen 4.1 e-scooter, which comes with a new interactive screen to improve rider education, an even better braking system and improved structural strength. It also has improved battery life which will provide a 28% increase in trips per battery swap. We have also just announced the exciting news that we’ll be launching our Gen4 e-bike in London this Summer. The new model has significant technology upgrades, with interchangeable batteries with our Gen4.1 e-scooters, automatic two-speed transmission and improved acceleration to name a few. We can’t wait for them to hit the streets. Another part of the investment will be used operationally. We moved into and opened a new London warehouse at the end of 2021, supporting over 100 local jobs, and creating a strong platform for growth this year.”