News from the fleet management front, September 27th Edition

News from the fleet management front, September 27th 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


In today’s newsletter, we look at the massive potential for micro-mobility trips to replace car trips in ten major U.S. cities, our shared e-scooter programs in Fort Pierce (FL) and Provo (UT), how our mature employment model supports fleet management excellence (and why gig workers do not), and more. Let’s roll!

Nearly Half of All Car Trips Could Be Replaced by Micro-Mobility

The potential growth of micro-mobility, especially when coupled with a great fleet management platform like Zagster’s, is simply massive. Nearly half (48%) of all car trips in 10 US cities could be replaced via micro-mobility, according to a recent Smart Cities Dive post. These “replaceable” trips are all under three miles, and some cities have more potential to use micro-mobility for shorter trips than others. Honolulu, for instance, which sits at the top of the list (with New Orleans and Nashville close behind), could use micro-mobility to replace a whopping 55% of all car trips. 

As INRIX Transportation Analyst Trevor Reed told Smart Cities Dive: "Cars are popular due to their flexibility and comfort. To entice drivers out of their vehicles and onto bikes/scooters, the experience needs to be superior than that of driving. Good coverage and a network of protected lanes are the most powerful steps forward." So is effective fleet management for shared micro-mobility. Given the challenges of rolling out micro-mobility solutions in places like San Diego (more on that city later), effective fleet management offers the best option for communities to systematically and collaboratively manage micro-mobility. Leave the car at home, at least half the time anyway!

Scooting Around Fort Pierce (FL) and Provo (UT)

Nearly half (48%) of all car trips in 10 US cities could be replaced via micro-mobility
— Smart Cities

Our Zagster bike share program has been so successful in Fort Pierce (FL) that the city has decided to launch 250 Spin e-scooters with us, our first scooter launch in the Sunshine State. As WPTV/5 reporter Janny Rodriguez said in her news report on the morning of the launch (yes, Janny took a scooter ride wearing a helmet), “the city is hoping to bridge transit gaps and include more types of riders” through the scooter share. We’re so proud of our locally hired Fort Pierce fleet management team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that both modes of micro-mobility vehicles are available where and when needed. 

Let’s move northwest to Provo (UT). We launched Spin e-scooters there in early August and the Utah city has taken to them quickly. Each of the 500 scooters is averaging about 3 rides per day. As a result, we’ve helped Provo reduce car usage by 12,159 trips in just the first month after the launch. Provo and its Mayor Michelle Kaufusi selected Zagster as its micro-mobility partner because of our reputation for operational excellence in managing complex multi-modal programs (bikes, e-scooters, and more) in over 230 communities throughout North America, including St. George (UT), Salem (MA), and Albuquerque (NM). As Mayor Kaufusi explained it, “scooters and bikes have emerged as popular modes of transportation among students and commuters who use them as last mile transportation from bus stops or train stations.” We look forward to continuing to drive success in Provo with our fleet management platform.

A Micro-Mobility Operator’s Employment Model Matters (a Lot) 

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At Zagster, we have a mature employment model where we hire local people with local know-how, then train them and give them opportunities for career advancement. Why? Because this “employee model” supports our responsible, community-centric approach to managing fleets. We care for our people so they can care for our communities and the vehicles in our fleets. Having untrained, underpaid, and unmotivated gig workers fighting over who gets to pick up and recharge an e-scooter helps nobody and promotes sidewalk chaos (see the “bad example” of San Diego below). According to this September 11th New York Times story, the California legislature has  “approved a landmark bill that requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees, a move that could reshape the gig economy.” The Governor says he’ll sign the bill into law, which would take effect on January 1, 2020. That’s a move in the right direction for workers and communities alike, as far as we’re concerned, but Zagster has been doing things the right way for over a decade. Put simply, hiring and developing great employees works better for all involved and supports the sustainable future of micro-mobility.

Chaos Continues in San Diego

Finally, let’s talk about San Diego, and the chaos of its micro-mobility program, a topic I wrote about in my September 16th Zblog post about why efficient fleet management is so essential for unlocking the benefits of micro-mobility and mitigating its risks. That California city has seen multiple problems with multiple vehicle manufacturers/operators coming into the city to operate, and having e-scooters clogging its sidewalks. Earlier this month, according to this San Diego News story, the city responded by initiating a process to revoke the license of one big operator. This is a worst-case scenario for micro-mobility, where a community has to bring legal action against an operator to revoke its license. As Toronto (Canada) Mayor John Tory said recently: “We cannot have a kind of a wild west where people just show up in town and start operating scooters without rules and start leaving them all over the place without rules.” At Zagster, we collaborate with cities from the very beginning of our discussions with them to manage the risks of micro-mobility. Going into a community, making a mess, and then asking communities to be tolerant is not a sustainable way to do business and/or unlock the benefits of micro-mobility, which is why Zagster always collaborates with our community partners on efficient fleet management. Collaboration is actually a key component of fleet management, along with trained, experienced people and great technology.

Until next time, be safe and enjoy the ride!