26 Jul 2018
BIG PICTURE

Coexisting with Micro Mobility

Electric bikes and electric scooters are popping up on city corners all around the world. How does car2go coexist with these new micro mobility solutions? D.C. General Manager Aaron Landry and Austin Market Specialist Nick Vetsch have the answers.

“Micro mobility” describes a range of vehicles which accommodate only one or two people. While passengers per vehicle are indeed limited, shared micro mobility presents an attractive option for anyone seeking to navigate a city nimbly and without the rigidity of mass transit.

car2go’s smart fortwo is certainly an example of micro mobility, but new additions to the category are making waves in cities around the world. Electric bikes and electric scooters (docked and free-floating) are popping up on city corners – further evidence of the world’s experimental transportation landscape.

Few places is this more evident than Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas – where new micro mobility options seem to appear every day. We caught up with D.C. General Manager Aaron Landry and Austin Market Specialist Nick Vetsch to get the scoop on this growing trend.

What are your thoughts on the current micro mobility trend in transportation?


Aaron Landry, D.C. General Manager

Aaron: In the U.S., Washington, D.C. has the highest percentage of people who bike and walk with their commute. With all of these new mobility offerings, it’s allowing more and more people to get around the District without a personally-owned car.

It’s enabling people to think before every trip, “Should I bike? Should I bus? Should I use Metro? Should I use a scooter? Should I use car2go?”

When people become more comfortable with having multiple options for each trip, the need for a personally-owned car goes down. Overall, this has proven to be good for car2go in D.C.

 

Nick: Micro mobility is very fascinating. The industry is growing fast, the city rollouts and early adoption remind me of the initial days of ride hailing. In the past month, Austin has seen over 2,000 scooters and bikes show up. Like ride hailing, the public response has not been entirely positive. Austin is a car-centric city and many residents see these devices as a nuisance.

The introduction of micro transit has opened up a larger conversation of urban infrastructure, access to transit, and equity. With high population growth and congestion, these are issues that have historically been neglected and need to be addressed.

Have you used these services?

Aaron: I have made an effort to use all of the options available in D.C., and try to use every mode I can when I visit other cities. Some may fail here, but overall I think the whole micro mobility space will have long-term growth.

The new bikes are helping get more people into bicycling, the electric bikes are making longer-distance and hilly biking more accessible, and the electric scooters are becoming popular to take short, quick trips. I use them all, and I see many people use the different services interchangeably.

Even as these new modes become popular, our docked bikeshare system in D.C. has seen some of their best days and car2go is as popular as ever. I love seeing all of the options work together.


Nick Vetsch, Austin Market Specialist

Nick: Yes, I use all of the available options. My hands down favorite are the electric assist bikes. The scooters are great if you’re on a flat roadway, but they lack power to get up most hills.

Electric assist bikes provide stability and control with nearly effortless pedaling. In Austin, there’s definitely a preference for scooters over traditional bikes.

How do you see car2go coexisting with micro mobility?

Aaron: car2go is solidifying itself in D.C. as the best option for the times someone needs the flexibility to use a car. As there are so many options for shorter trips with three ride-hailing companies, three scooter companies, six bikeshare companies, taxis, and transit, car2go has naturally become the best fit for longer trips.

Last year, car2go’s average trip length was about a half hour and today it’s approaching one hour, and we are seeing some of the best overall utilization we’ve ever had. The introduction of the Mercedes-Benz also advances the idea that we provide the best options for the time you need a car.

Overall, having more mobility options helps residents have a mindset of choosing the best solution for each trip instead of defaulting to always using a personally-owned car, and this helps car2go.

I’m excited for car2go’s continued growth as more and more people shift to an on-demand mobility mindset.

 

Nick: Not much to add here since Aaron has explained really well how we fit into the mix. car2go is my go-to option for longer trips – car2go packages are a great way to lean into this micro mobility trend.

 

Thanks a lot for answering our questions!