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Who are you, e-scooter rider ?

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Who are you, e-scooter rider ?

BY   Alexandre Gauquelin   

The French mobility engineering consultancy 6-t released last week the first study on shared e-scooter use in France. Even if 13 operators are already present here (12 in Paris only), the impact of these fast growing services are still to be fully understood.

The French market as of June 2019 – 6-t

It is important to note that the study is based on Lime users, from Paris, Lyon and Marseille. With most of the respondents from Paris, it makes it hardly transposable to any other city in the world: not only Paris is one of the densest city, but it is covered by one of the best public transport networks.

Who ?

The profile of the e-scooter rider in France is similar as the one defined is US studies:

  • male – 66% of the users
  • rich – average revenue of the e-scooter rider 2500€/m vs average revenue in Paris 2202€/m

A couple of differences can be found, however:

  • 42% of the users are tourists – it lowers the importance of the shared e-scooter as alternatives for commuting
  • students are over-represented, despite of the high price of the service
Why ? (or why not ?)

If users are first of all attracted to the “fun” aspect of the scooters (69% of respondents), they remain loyal thanks to the convenience of the freefloating service : availability, possibility to drop the vehicle anywhere…

On the opposite, the 3 main drawbacks to e-scooter usage are

  • The price – hey, for me it is still a big question mark: how can people pay that much for a trip? And it is not moving in a good direction…
  • Safety issues: in France, e-scooters are not allowed on the pavement, nor on the streets. Yet.
  • Weather conditions – in addition to the fact of being wet/cold, it highlights the lack of safety of the small wheels in wet conditions.

The availability is also identified as the main topic: 59% of the users already experienced unavailability while looking for one vehicle (24% often. 24% subscribed to different operators to face the issue). Well, don’t tell it to Parisiens and Lyonnais who already feel under invasion!

As a national law on mobility is under discussion in France, the potential impact of some rules has been measured. Some are already adopted in Paris, such as no riding on the pavement (negative impact for 41% of the users), or close to be adopted, such as mandatory parking zones (negative impact for 63% of the users). The controversial mandatory helmet will have a negative impact for 71% of the users, while a 15km/h speed limit will deter 58% of the users from riding…

The free-floating controverse: even if it modifies deeply the urban landscape with wild public space occupation, people rely on the possibility to find and/or drop their vehicles anywhere, and might withdraw from the services if they had to use parking zones.

How ?

The median trip duration is 11 minutes. It is extended thanks to recreational rides: 30% of the rides happen on weekends, with a median duration of 21 minutes.

A number I was waiting to see: 10% of the rides happen with several riders! Huge. Shouldn’t operators work on hardware solution either to forbid riders to ride in pair, or to offer a safe solution to do so?

What impact on the mobility landscape ?

That’s what I want to know. How do these services interact with other transport solutions?

Scooters are an intermodal solution for 23% of the riders, in connection with public transport (66%) and walk (19%), while 44% used it one way only. It shows that e-scooters are a solution in the multimodal urban landscape, and once again that the easy access provokes opportunistic rides.

The question of the mode-share shift will raise the question on the impact of urban travellers: 44% of users would have done their last trip by walk, plus 30% by public transport if free-floating e-scooters were not operating. No, e-scooter services are not taking people out of their cars!

Mode share in Paris

Even if these switches do not affect the walk and public transport mode share, the share of free-floating e-scooters in Paris transport is estimated between 0.8 and 1.9%. After one year of service, it is already impressive, compared to the low 3% for bicycles. As 6-t concludes:

The mode share of free-floating e-scooters is not to be overlooked. It is really answering a need and are a real part of the mobility offer, at least in the capital.

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