VP of Markets
Data recently released by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) shows that the micro-mobility space is booming, as more communities launch and/or expand programs. Trips on shared micro-mobility vehicles more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, with 84 million trips taken in 2018, according to NACTO. In more great news, the spectacular growth in e-scooter ridership is not “cannibalizing” other forms of micro-mobility. In fact, bicycle ridership grew by 9% last year compared to 2017. Zagster believes that multiple modes of micro-mobility, including pedal bikes, e-bikes, e-scooters, and whatever modes emerge next, can co-exist and complement each other in any community.
There are great reasons for integrating multi-modal mobility into a community-based micro-mobility program. One vehicle doesn’t necessarily fit all rider needs. Different modes may better address challenges around trip length, purpose of the trip (commuting to work vs recreational use), rider capabilities, topography, weather/seasonality, cost, and more (see the attached infographic). For example, e-mobility (e-scooters and e-bikes) might be focused in downtown areas as a substitute for car trips. Pedal bikes might be ideal near nature trails/parks for recreation and wellness purposes. Many adults haven't ridden a bicycle in years, so e-mobility might be more comfortable for them. It all comes down to having multiple modes of micro-mobility for the right person in the right place. We can’t dictate what mode is “best” for people, but we can offer options so people can decide for themselves.
Collaborating With Cities on Multi-Modal Mobility
Zagster is successful because we deliver operational excellence, meaning riders have high-quality experiences with all modes of micro-mobility. We work closely with our community partners to understand their dynamic needs. When we talk with (and listen to) communities, we make all three modes of micro-mobility available to them. Every community is unique, so we work to deploy the right vehicle mix for each community’s needs.
We use our know-how, partner network, and decade plus of experience to advise communities. Having multiple modes of micro-mobility enables us to customize fleets for our communities. We are vehicle agnostic: we don't have a preference for any particular product mix. We’re independent advisors with “no horse in the race” who want what’s best for our community partners.
We also bring our experiences with other cities to the table, especially cities that share similar challenges around multi-modal micro-mobility. Obviously, no “solution” can be taken off the shelf and deployed. We have deep conversations with communities about how one existing solution might be tailored for them, and then work to tweak every solution to accommodate their uniqueness (maybe in regulation, transport infrastructure, etc.).
Bikes and Scooters Come to St. George, Utah
St. George, Utah, a community of about 170,000 residents, began with a Zagster bike share (it currently has 10 bike stations and 58 bikes). Because of our operational experience in St. George and other communities, we were able to share data and examples that allowed St. George city officials to appreciate how multiple forms of mobility (beyond pedal bikes) might better serve the needs of their community.
When the city launched 400 scooters with us this March, the new mode became instantly and massively popular, with over 20,000 trips in the first 30 days after launch. Simultaneously, the use of the bike share also increased by 17 percent in that same month (as compared to the year before). So the usage of multiple modes can grow at the same time. We’ve found that the more robust and available micro-mobility is in a particular city, the more confident consumers are about using multiple modes. People gain a higher degree of confidence that they have great options to get around their community, without the expense and headaches of owning a car.
St. George is good example of how multiple modes of micro-mobility can translate into more benefits for users. It comes back to serving consumer preferences and making options available. As St. George Mayor Jon Pike said after the city added Spin scooters to the existing bike share: "The response has been phenomenal. These alternative modes of transportation provide great ways to get around the city as well as having the potential to increase our community's overall level of health and wellness."
As New Modes Emerge, Zagster’s Ready
Zagster has a front row seat on the constant experimentation happening in our 250 local programs. We’re always asking “how can our operations make this new mode successful?” We’re very attuned to the industry and we expect three micro-mobility modes to become four or more. Of course, cities have reasonable concerns about the challenges around having multiple modes in their city.
When partnering with Zagster, cities can rest easy knowing that our community-based operations will always be done in a professional, orderly, and collaborative way. We adopt the vehicle preferences of our community partners (communities and users will decide the fleet mix, not us). Through our purpose-built Wrangler app, we know where vehicles are and what condition they're in. Our technology plays a huge role in shaping our vehicle agnosticism. Our tech, processes, and training are centered around operational “tasks-to-be-done” (maintaining, re-charging, re-deploying, etc.) rather than around specific vehicle modalities.
We know that some specialization is needed depending on the vehicle, particularly for mechanics. We’re developing “centers of excellence” for the maintenance and repair of each type of mobility vehicle. Then we share best practices and standard ways of doing things across our entire operations. This is where our nationwide scale, our partnership network, and our decade plus of experience in micro-mobility operations helps us benefit our amazing partners. Zagster is a multi-modal platform for the present and future of micro-mobility. For us, it’s not about the vehicle type but about addressing community needs with customized, community-based solutions.
Want to learn more about how we collaborate with communities to custom-design micro-mobility solutions? You can start the conversation here.