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Micro-mobility: a good 'fit' for the post-pandemic landscape

While the sector took a hit in pandemic lockdowns, ABI Research says it will continue to grow and forecasts the worldwide installed base of micro-mobility vehicles to reach 50 million by 2026.

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Micro-mobility service operators are offering a variety of different services
Micro-mobility service operators are offering a variety of different services

The worldwide installed base of micro-mobility vehicles is forecast to reach 50 million by 2026 as its ability to ‘fit’ a post-Covid-19 transportation landscape proves decisive in its comeback, a new report finds.

 

According to ABI Research’s Smart Bikes, Scooters, and Pedelecs: Expansion of Two Wheel Shared Transportation Market application analysis report, the shared micro-mobility market has ‘exploded’ globally since start-ups Mobike and Ofo kickstarted the bike-sharing market in China.

 

Fleets of shared bikes

 

Over the last few years, sharing service operators not only grew their fleets of shared bikes, but also expanded their services by introducing other two-wheeled vehicles such as pedelecs, electric scooters, and mopeds. While micro-mobility took a hit from pandemic lock-down orders, micro-mobility is here to stay and will continue to grow in the post-Covid-19 world, the report states.

 

“With the increased anxieties over using public transport due to the fear of infection, micro-mobility is considered as an alternative mode of transport. The sharing of bikes, pedelecs, electric scooters, and mopeds are fitting the post-Covid-19 bill,” said Harriet Sumnall, research analyst at ABI Research.

 

However, she cautioned: “For-profit to be made, rides need to take place and as a consequence of Covid-19, service operators are facing huge short-term profitability challenges.”

 

Many operators have had to reduce their workforce as well as suspend their operations globally, which will impact the amount of available cash to keep the companies afloat. Though global lockdowns have forced the downsizing or suspension of many fleets, micro-mobility usage of available fleets has not been completely halted.

“With the increased anxieties over using public transport due to the fear of infection, micro-mobility is considered as an alternative mode of transport”

Operators are offering a variety of different services that can improve image and reputation during these trying times, the report notes. Lime has introduced a service named Lime Aid which allows public health workers to enjoy 30-minute rides for free.

 

At the same time, Spin and Lyft are offering free bike-share access for employees within the healthcare and public transport sectors. Service operators are also looking at innovative ways in which they can continue to run their services with limited disruption by ensuring that disinfection is taking place more frequently.

 

The pandemic is also giving service providers an opportunity to form tighter relationships with both communities and municipalities. The analysis also underlines the ‘crucial’ importance of service operators continuing to work alongside governments and regulators during the pandemic and to improve the relationships between the parties to ensure they can continue to expand in a post-pandemic world.

 

“Micro-mobility is a greener alternative to public transport, and these services will continue to be taken advantage of during and long after this pandemic,” added Sumnall

 

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