News from the fleet management front, August 16th Edition

News from the fleet management front, August 16th Edition

by Dan Grossman

Dan has been at the forefront of the shared economy, leading shared mobility initiatives at Ford, General Motors and Zipcar. Dan burst onto the shared economy scene in 2009, introducing Zipcar to nearly 80 new markets (if you're wondering, Hawaii was the most challenging) and seeing the company through its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and acquisition by Avis. Dan then became a founding member of the leadership team for General Motors' mobility brand, Maven. His success at Maven led to his first stint at Chief Executive Officer at Chariot, Ford's app-based shuttle service. Since May 2019, Dan is leading the team at Zagster.

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Dan Grossman

CEO

I’m fortunate enough to lead Zagster’s team of passionate micro-mobility experts as we build community-based solutions. Moving forward, I’ll be crafting this bi-weekly newsletter with a focus on how Zagster builds meaningful micro-mobility programs, our thoughtful approach to fleet management (blending technology, people, and experience) and our goal of deploying multiple modes of micro-mobility in order to solve the transportation challenges of our community partners. In this first newsletter, we’ll focus on e-scooters coming to Provo (UT), how micro-mobility is a complement to existing modes of transportation (including cars), scooter safety, new scooter parking regulations in Israel, and more. Let’s get moving . . . 

Zagster just launched a scooter pilot in Provo (UT) with 250 scooters and plans to expand to 500. “We’re adding a micro-mobility option to our comprehensive multi-modal city transportation plan, all designed to manage traffic congestion as we grow and develop as a city,” said Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. Provo partnered with Zagster and its industry-leading fleet management platform after a long and careful process of deliberation: “Maintaining [Provo’s] quality of life is a top priority, so it was crucial we chose a partner who had proven their ability in helping cities maximize performance and safety while minimizing the public nuisance potential,” said Mayor Kaufusi. The way we maximize performance and minimize nuisance is through our best-in-class fleet management platform, using our technology, our great employees and our decade plus of proven experience in hundreds of markets. In Provo, we were proud to win an exclusive contract for all form of micro-mobility, beating out every other scooter operator in the space. What this shows is that communities “get” the superiority of our fleet management platform and dedicated employees over multiple consumer operators, especially in driving safety, collaboration, efficiency, and profitability.

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At Zagster, our fleet management teams are focused on having the right mobility option available for the right trip at the right place and time. As this post at Forbes makes clear, cars will always have their place as a mobility option, but the emergence of micro-mobility means more and better transit options for more people. "As mobility and transportation solutions continue to become more convenient for us,” writes the author, “we'll opt to use these solutions when it makes sense, and we’ll continue to fly or drive when it makes sense. It’s not an either-on situation, it’s an all-and-both." That’s exactly what multiple modes of mobility are intended for, providing people with the best solution to meet their specific needs. What optimizes that emerging opportunity is our fleet management expertise, with its customizable combination of the right people, the right technology, the right charging processes, and the right vehicle mix to scale and meet the dynamic needs of each of the 250+ communities in which we operate.

As this Axios post explains, Scooter Boom Raises New Safety Questions, reclaiming the road for more people and modes of transport is part of what micro-mobility is all about. Multiple modes of micro-mobility means more investments are needed in safety-supporting public infrastructure. E-scooters can play an important role in reducing traffic congestion and helping people move quickly and cheaply around their communities, but until more communities create more infrastructure for scooters, users should be safe and always wear a helmet. As we’ve launched new scooter markets all summer, Zagster has worked hard to educate users on safety and we’re encouraged by the number of people out there on scooters wearing helmets. We have a long way to go, but this common-sense precaution is incredibly meaningful in reducing injuries while we wait for cities to build the necessary safety-supporting infrastructure. 

We’re adding a micro-mobility option to our comprehensive multi-modal city transportation plan, all designed to manage traffic congestion as we grow and develop as a city.”
— Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi

Study Breaks is a great website (and magazine) that covers trends impacting our nation’s college students. As the new school year looms, it has just posted What’s the Deal with E-Scooters? A Guide to the Latest Transportation Craze. As Chicago-based author and college student Cameron Rapata notes, a huge percentage of car trips (40%) are under two miles, so switching to an e-scooter for even half of those short car trips would save the planet 2 million metric tons per year in CO2 emissions, not to mention vastly reducing auto traffic congestion. Ms. Rapata also offers some great safety recommendations, such as using a bike lane where available, wearing a helmet,  and staying off sidewalks. We love her final word: e-scooters are “easy to find and use, inexpensive and provide a viable, green alternative to gas-guzzling vehicles. If riders make sure to take a few safety precautions — and city infrastructure works toward inclusivity of micro-mobility on the roads — e-scooters are likely to become a legitimate mode of travel.” We completely agree, and are building our fleet management platform to make the widespread adoption of multiple modes of micro-mobility as easy as possible for communities and riders.

Parking accounts for about 25% of the land usage [of many U.S. cities]. With a shared transport system, we could reduce parking spaces to 5% [of land usage], unlocking 20% of the most valuable property in the country.
— Paul Asel

At Zagster, our proprietary fleet management technology, called Wrangler, allows us to rebalance vehicles when and where they’re needed. We also know when vehicles are not parked correctly or has optimum charge levels. Our tech-enabled employees will then act swiftly to correct these issues. Having a great platform for fleet management really matters when it comes to parking e-scooters, as new regulations in Tel Aviv, Israel, show. These regs restrict where and when scooters may be parked and place responsibility on the operators to ensure compliance, not the users. As this CTech post explains, “[v]ehicles must be parked in special spaces designated by the city, or, where those are unavailable, in a way that does not interfere with pedestrian traffic or block access to shops, buildings or bus stations.” Zagster understands that each community has different needs that will require different solutions, whether that relates to parking restrictions or any other aspect of micro-mobility. We help craft solutions with our community partners, on parking, rider zones and every other aspect of successful fleet management.

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Finally, “parking accounts for about 25% of the land usage [of many U.S. cities]. With a shared transport system, we could reduce parking spaces to 5% [of land usage], unlocking 20% of the most valuable property in the country" to better serve local communities. So says investor and author Paul Asel in Why investing in new mobility is also an investment in the future of cities. Cities have historically been built around the car, but we see massive opportunities for changing that via micro-mobility. As Asel notes, “[c]ommute patterns in the U.S. are more a function of [car-centric] public policy and city design than consumer preference . . .We are seeing commute patterns change in real time as new transport option emerge with shared, dockless bikes and scooters.” Our technology and experience in fleet management is the way Zagster drives these important, beneficial changes in our communities.

I’ll close by wishing you a safe and enjoyable weekend!