15 Aug 19

e-scooters are leaving Brussels

After shared scooters took over the streets of the Belgian capital, various smaller scooter companies are leaving Brussels now. What is going on? 

In the spring Brussels still boasted about 7,000 e-scooters, but suddenly there are about 1,350 less, according to the newspaper La Dernière Heure

Little explanation was provided, but the newspaper assumes that the competition – especially of the big scooter companies like Bird – and the low profits were among the main causes for the scooters leaving the streets. 

Small vs Big

Whereas the big scooter companies such as Bird, Spin and Lime started taking over the streets out of the US, in Europe, there were various smaller players entering the market, such as the Berlin startup Tier. Yet, various of these small players, including Tier, Hive and Wind, are getting their scooters off the streets now. 

Troty and Bird told they would hold a winter break, although it is not sure if and when they will bring the scooters back to the streets of Brussels, especially considering the summer is already drawing to a close. Scooters of Voi are also being withdrawn. 

Stay or go

Yet, the leaving companies don’t mean that the scooter battle is entirely over, as many cities around the world struggled (and continue to struggle) to integrate the scooters in the street. Especially safety of other road users, vandalism against the scooters, and disturbing parking behaviour are mentioned as the main weak points of scooter companies. 

Yet, various companies continue operations, by integration additional safety measures, cooperating with local (city) governments, and/or installing dedicated parking zones or docks. In Brussels in particular, the scooter companies Lime, Dott, Circ, and Poppy, are willing to stay for the moment. 

Hence, with 4 out of 8 scooter companies leaving Brussels, it is the question what the other companies will do, and how the new mobility mode will end up finding its way in the new mobility landscape. 

Authored by: Fien Van den steen