With the introduction of rentable e-scooters, the mobility environment has changed. Cityscape of many German metropolitan areas changed. Thousands of these entertaining vehicles already complement the urban mobility offer and it can be assumed that there will be many more in the coming years. Or not? We take a closer look at how various areas of shared mobility have changed and use the example of offerings in Hamburg to show that there is not only one "forward" in a dynamic market environment.
Carsharing offer in major cities is growing
Since March 2019, the global car rental company SIXT has been offering decentralized vehicles for short-term rental in Hamburg. Under the name SIXT share and with a new pricing system, the company wants to compete for market share with the more established providers Car2Go, DriveNow, MILES and Oply. They are responding in very different ways: Oply is significantly expanding its business area and is now available in less central parts of the city. Car2go and DriveNow form a joint venture and have been bundling their activities as the largest car-sharing provider under the brand name ShareNow since November. VW announces that it will be launching its WeShare 1 service from 2020.000 new electric cars to be offered in Hamburg. In Germany, there are currently more than 20.000 vehicles available for car sharing, of which around 3.000 in Hamburg.
Bike sharing market is competitive
Those who prefer to get around on two wheels instead of four can choose between bicycles, e-scooters and e-scooters. Bike sharing is the most established form and has been booming for years. Hamburg market leader StadtRad, a cooperation between the Hanseatic city and Deutsche Bahn Connect, continues to expand its position with 31 new rental stations to a total of 253. Due to the strong market position, there are only a few other providers in Hamburg and so the large bike sharing competitors such as Byke, mobike or nextbike primarily try it in other cities, sometimes without stations as so-called freefloating.
This station-independent approach is also being pursued by e-scooter providers circ, Lime, TIER and voi, all of which launched in June 2019 and have more than 30.Offer 000 scooters for decentralized rental. E-scooters have been on the market a little longer, but operator emmy had to temporarily suspend its Hamburg offering in September 2019 due to battery problems.
Focus on e-scooters
The benefits of e-scooters are the subject of controversial debate, and not just in the media: On the one hand, providers proclaim that they want to "revolutionize urban transportation" (Lime) and help to "finally initiate the overdue traffic turnaround" (TIER). On the other hand, complaints about clogged feet are piling up-. Bike lanes or inconsiderate scooter drivers; critical reports on battery life have also been published.
An initial survey by the opinion research institute yougov also shows that e-scooters are used primarily for pleasure and less for traffic or environmental reasons. But it is also certain that the launch and resulting attention has brought many people closer to the question of how they themselves want to shape their mobility. On the other hand, other studies from abroad and from Nunatak for Germany show that e-scooters can play an important role in a sustainable mobility mix for relevant target groups.
The hype and the big excitement are probably already over. What contribution e-scooters can really make to the transport revolution, we will see in the coming months and years.
On Demand Services become more important
In addition to the rental business, on-demand services in particular are growing. The most prominent representative in Hamburg since July 2019 is the VW subsidiary MOIA, which initially started with 200 electric minibuses and currently operates a fleet of around 300 vehicles. The planned further increase to 500 MOIA vehicles is one of the reasons why the DB subsidiary CleverShuttle also withdrew from the Hamburg market. Clevershuttle also decides to do the same in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, but there due to problems with the passenger transportation law. The provider ioki on the other hand cooperates closely with the public transport (Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein). With its British cab vehicles, is focusing on expanding its business area in certain parts of the city.
Adds related services such as ridehailing and ridematching. Here FreeNow dominates the German market as the successor app to myTaxi. Offers opportunities to save money through shared cab rides with Match variants. The mobility offer is supplemented by the mediation of so-called rides, which are ordered drivers with cars and passenger transport licenses. The model is similar to that of Uber, which also began offering its services in Hamburg in July 2019 after a year-long approval process.
Data-driven shared mobility planning
In parallel, the city of Hamburg – together with Wunder Mobility – has established the first data platform for sharing offers. Using the platform to aggregate and visualize data from mobility providers. The aim is to use the analyzed data as a basis for transparent assessments of future developments and planning of services as well as infrastructure.
In response to this development and its future, customers and operators in particular are asking themselves questions such as:
– Shared mobility offers will become more established, so that in the future we will no longer own our own vehicles, but share all of them with our fellow citizens?
– Are the current sharing business models really economically and ecologically sustainable (see z.B. Current press releases about MOIA)?
– How will the classic public transport services of companies and associations develop??
– Which cooperations between private mobility providers, public transport and municipalities make sense?
– To what extent will cities and municipalities have a say in the regulation, control and planning of new shared mobility offerings?
– How will the Passenger Transportation Act change and what will this mean for current and future services??
The aim must be to manage the new mobility services intelligently and to link or integrate them sensibly with conventional public transport services. We look forward to continuing to support our customers in dealing with these exciting issues.