ICYMI: The Week in Micro-Mobility, March 29th Edition

ICYMI: The Week in Micro-Mobility, March 29th Edition

by Timothy Ericson

There wouldn’t be a Zagster if it weren’t for Timothy Ericson. As Founder and Chief Business Officer, Timothy is responsible for growing Zagster and reshaping cities with its nifty microtransit solutions. Also, if you’re looking for a wine recommendation, he’s your guy.

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Timothy Ericson

Founder and CBO

This week’s highlights from the fast-paced micro-mobility space include a great introduction to Wrangler (Zagster’s purpose-built software suite to ensure all operational tasks get done), a frank analysis from Forbes about the micro-mobility space, a new micro-mobility roadmap released by the Windy City, bike sharing “super-success” in Rochester, NY, and much more. Let’s ride!

It's awesome to see a tool that Zagster once used for our own bike shares now being leveraged to help our partners achieve better economics and increased customer satisfaction. That tool is called Wrangler, and Bob Mallon, Zagster’s VP of Product Development, wrote a terrific ZBlog post about it this week. As Bob explains, Wrangler is the digital platform we deploy to manage field operation tasks such as picking up shared mobility vehicles, repairing them, and charging them. “Wrangler gives people in the field the tools to get the right vehicle to the right place at the right time,” says Bob, “and provides an operations management team with the ability to schedule, distribute and monitor work in real time.” Purpose-built for micro-mobility, Wrangler helps us put the community first and provides our partners with operational excellence. Congrats to Bob and his talented team!

Shared Mobility News posted a great article this week detailing Five Promises of Micromobility, which include increased energy and space efficiency, more safety, enhanced urban liveability, and economic inclusion. Regarding that last one, the author says: “People need transportation options to access earning opportunities . . . the cheapest option is [often] public transportation. But there remains a “last mile” problem: how is one to access the nearest station when it’s sometimes miles away?” The article’s answer -- “Micromobility fits the bill perfectly.” We work to deliver on all five of those important promises.

People need transportation options to access earning opportunities . . . the cheapest option is [often] public transportation. But there remains a “last mile” problem: how is one to access the nearest station when it’s sometimes miles away?
— Shared Mobility News

Forbes published a terrific analysis of what’s happening in the micro-mobility space, warts and all. Author Scott Corwin, who leads the Future of Mobility practice for global consultancy Deloitte, touches upon recent missteps: “many electric scooter introductions paid too little attention to city governments’ legitimate concerns.” Among the many micro-mobility challenges Corwin mentions are regulation, the use of mobility data, funding, the maturation of various technologies, and “the long-term viability” of business models. Corwin ends optimistically: “make no mistake: we are heading toward a fundamentally different [transportation] system.” We agree, and are helping to drive that eco-system in a collaborative, community-based direction, one of sustainable growth.

Massachusetts needs to pass legislation incorporating best practices from other states. . . The benefit? A new and popular mode of transportation that can truly reduce road congestion.
— Boston Globe

The city of Chicago has just published its 48-page Roadmap For The Future of Transportation and Mobility in Chicago. The Windy City’s goals include ensuring that micro-mobility services are accessible for all members of the community and do not interfere with non-riders in public spaces.  As the report recommends: “The City should work to expand the availability of shared bike and other micro-mobility programs to offer a range of accessible bikes and micro-mobility devices,” and “the City should develop clear policies . . . to ensure shared bikes, scooters and other dockless mobility devices are not an impediment to access of the public way.” At Zagster, we have an operations platform to ensure that. Feel free to call us, Mr. Mayor.

The Rochester, NY micro-mobility program has been seeing great success. A newspaper article with the self-explanatory title, Rochester a ‘Shining Star’ for Bike Sharing, notes that Rochester’s nearly 17,000 bike share users logged 54,000 trips in 2018, more than double the 23,000 trips taken in 2017. Of course, with such a spike in demand, economists would suggest raising prices. Instead, the Zagster program is cutting membership costs in half. In order to promote equity and inclusion, Zagster “has [also] created a workaround for those who don't have credit cards. People can pay for rides with cash at any CVS, 7-Eleven, Rite Aid or Family Dollar,” explains the article. Shared mobility continues to grow in Rochester, and we’re proud to partner with this amazing city!

Finally, an editorial in the Boston Globe asks Where Are the Scooters? It recommends that the Massachusetts state government pass legislation regulating the micro-mobility vehicles, based upon what other states and municipalities have done. On Wednesday, the Boston City Council unanimously passed an ordinance creating regulations for micro-mobility. As the Globe editorial concludes: “Massachusetts needs to pass legislation incorporating best practices from other states. . . The benefit? A new and popular mode of transportation that can truly reduce road congestion.” Well, you know where to find us, state of Massachusetts. At Zagster, we know exactly where the scooters are!

Enjoy your weekend and get outside to ride!