Until now, the micro-mobility industry has shown surprising growth. However, resembling all industries, mobility as a service is also undergoing some difficulties during this pandemic. The pandemic has created a nuisance in the lives of people in many different ways. These include many bindings on daily travel, widespread work-from-home agreements, or complete shutdowns.
Public transportation has seen several limitations as well, and that’s where the need for MaaS emerged during the pandemic. Several major cities like Mexico City and London, are taking advantage of growing their cycling networks.
Simultaneously, cities that fell behind are now working twice as hard to facilitate people who are considering micro-mobility as means of transport.
To balance the city’s movement, micro-mobility services are integral and should be part of every city’s master plan. Not only do they provide alternative travel options, but they’re also important for sustainable mobility for cities in the future.
The Effect of Pandemic on Micro-mobility
The worldwide lockdown has severely affected valuations of the service provider, support staff, and the pace of industry integration. For example, the value of one business running a global chain of e-bikes and e-scooters has recently decreased by 79%. Another provider suspended operations in six different US cities and all over the European region, leaving 30% of its workforce unemployed. A third company reduced 60% of its employees’ working hours while providing healthcare professionals in Germany with a simplified collection of its e-scooters.
With the commencement of the pandemic, the initial effect was characterized by a substantial drop in the amount of customer micro-mobility services received. Attributed to the rigid lockdown policies at the beginning, there were limited options for commute, and citizens were trapped in their houses. The number of passenger-kilometers traveled globally declined by 50-60%.
However, one significant advantage of the onset of the pandemic is that it’s changing consumer behavior. Public travel is now viewed in a completely different light, and many people are starting to turn away from using public transport services. It’s this changing mindset which is the primary reason why several investors are expecting the micro-mobility sector to flourish in the future.
Changing Consumer Behavior
Local travel habits are increasingly shifting in response to steps to contain the pandemic. One instance is the desire for longer journeys. As per the US micro-mobility business renting e-scooters, mean travel distances have increased by 26% since the beginning of the pandemic outbreak. This led to rides in some areas like Detroit, climbing up to 60%. Some cities are witnessing a change in customer use cases at a more comprehensive stage.
Cities Worldwide Offer Helping Hands for Biking
The lockdown has prompted new city-wide measures around the world. A big consequence is an increased emphasis on cycling lanes. Note the following:
- Milan has confirmed that 35 kilometers of streets formerly used by cars will be converted to pedestrian and bike lanes after the lockdown has been lifted.
- Paris will transform 50 kilometers of lanes, currently reserved for vehicles, into bicycle lanes. It also plans to spend $325 million to upgrade its bicycle network.
- Brussels is converting 40 kilometers of car lanes into bike lanes.
- Seattle indefinitely closed 30 kilometers of streets to most car traffic, creating more room for people to walk and bike after the lockdown.
- Montreal has announced the construction of more than 320 kilometers of additional pedestrian and cycling routes throughout the city.
Increasing Preference for Micro-mobility
According to a consumer survey, micro-mobility as a service could improve. Statistics show that the percentage of responses desiring to use micro-mobility regularly would rise by 9% in terms of private micro-mobility and by 12% in terms of shared micro-mobility with comparison to pre-crisis stages. Considering the scenario, it’s expected that both private-and shared-micro-mobility approaches will undergo a speedy recovery in the percentage of passenger kilometers traveled, with no observable decrease from pre-crisis stages.
Micro-mobility services offer an excellent choice to travel and are an exhilarating source of a workout as well. Urban mobility will experience some significant changes after the pandemic, and an increasing preference for micro-mobility is good news for the industry.
Hygiene Concerns and Public Travel
A lot of people were already concerned with the hygiene aspect of public transport. After this pandemic, people will be more apprehensive than ever to use public transportation. Micro-mobility services will be seen as a much safer alternative to public transport.
To avoid putting them at risk of catching the virus, people will prefer using micro-mobility services to travel independently. The use of these services allows users to travel and also maintain social distancing guidelines on the go.
Make Micro-Mobility Service More Approachable
While there’s no doubt that the micro-mobility industry is going to return to pre-crisis stages, there are several improvements that are mandatory. Currently, micro-mobility services typically attract high-level executives and men. Companies need to do more to make their service more approachable to the general population.
One of the key requirements is reducing the cost of the service. As more people are preferring safer travel options, lowering the price of mobility as a service would significantly give rise to the number of customers and help the industry grow further.
Even though the initial hit on the micro-mobility industry was hard, it’s showing great potential for recovery and growth post-crisis. Once countries start easing lockdown restrictions and head towards the new normal, micro-mobility service must be ready to reap the benefits. It might be a blessing in disguise that leads towards more sustainable mobility in the cities of the future. Public transport has seen several limitations, and that’s where the need for MaaS emerged during the pandemic. Several major cities like Mexico City and London are already reaping the benefits of growing their cycling networks.