Consolidate, share, sustain—What’s propelling the mobility industry?

In Fluctuo’s recent European Shared Mobility Annual Review, in which IDnow sponsored and contributed, three significant trends are revealed as to what is driving mobility as seen through city and operator movements based on data collected from 115 European cities.

One could say 2023 was the year of unexpected surprise within the mobility industry after the Paris e-scooter ban turned many heads and required not only cities across Europe but operators as well to re-consider their services and plans. The Paris ban kicked off a tightening of regulations across Europe within the mobility sector causing cities such as Rome, Berlin and Brussels to significantly reduce the number of operators and e-scooters.

However, before these changes started taking effect, e-scooters were the favorite among shared mobility services. Between 2019-2022, Fluctuo reported that e-scooters lead the market during this time, overshadowing the use of bikes. But now, the tables, or should we say direction, has turned.

Seeing the need to change direction, within shared and micromobility services, both users and operators headed toward the next-best, and perhaps healthier, mode of transport—bicycles.

European Shared Mobility Index 2023 – by Fluctuo.

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Fluctuo Index 2023

Are bikes the new e-scooters?

With the need to enter new markets, operators spun their wheels and put more time and effort into new offers, specifically dockless bikes. And their efforts were not in vain. 2023 saw dockless bike fleets up 50% and ridership up 54% compared to previous yeas in which e-scooters dominated the market. And it wasn’t only dockless bikes which saw an increase in usage but station-based bikes as well.

The after-effects from Paris made scooter operators realize that city authorities prefer shared bikes rather than e-scooters. This was clearly seen as the city of Paris topped the list at 45 million for station-based bike ridership and came in second after London for dockless bikes. Though it may seem that the two services should complement one another rather than compete, it would appear that dockless bikes are the preferred choice. Despite this, both bike services are expected to grow in 2024, with station-based bikes growing more steadily perhaps due to more affordable end-user pricing.

Even though bike sharing is picking up in Northern Europe, that does not mean scooters have been kicked to the curb. On the contrary, the popularity of scooters remains and grows in Eastern Europe.

I feel the need, the need for… reduction.

Okay, it may not have been what you were thinking but unfortunately speed is not the answer here. After Paris decided to go forward with banning e-scooters, many did not know how it would affect other major cities. Most probably thought that it would create a domino effect and other cities would follow suit, banning e-scooters left and right. But this did not come to pass.

Instead, other cities decided to cut scooter fleet sizes rather than banning them completely. This however, was felt on the operator side who went into survival mode. Seeing the need to make smart economic decisions in order to stay in the game, mobility operators had to reduce costs, exit markets (i.e. scooters) and in some cases merge with another operator as seen with Tier and Dott. Consolidation became the name of the game.

Now, with the limited number of spots available in cities for scooter operators, companies must appeal in order to stay active or risk the chance of not being able to operate in that location any longer.

But despite what sounds like grim news, the scooter fleets that have been reduced in major cities due to these new regulations are being moved to smaller cities and other cities without a number cap, resulting in fleet sizes remaining stable. Even better is the fact that fleets have grown 33% in Eastern Europe with Poland being an exceptionally large market for scooters.

Sharing is caring.

Bikes and scooters were not the only shared services that saw changes last year. Mopeds, for example, faced challenges due to cases of vandalism and theft in Eastern Europe. Safety concerns also arose in which the Netherlands now requires users to wear a helmet on mopeds capped at 25km/h. Nevertheless, the moped market remained stable.

One sharing service which did perform well last year and seems to continue to do so is free-floating carsharing. After a 39% increase in rentals last year, car-sharing is seeing a growing popularity in short-term rentals (2-3 hours) compared to an entire day. Cities leading the way are mostly German to include Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

As cities and remaining operators start accepting regulations and gaining financial stability within the market, shared mobility services will continue to develop providing cities and their inhabitants with greater benefits than before.

Going green.

As carsharing services gain greater popularity after continual success, this mobility option is one that breathes life into the growing e-mobility movement. With some carsharing operators already providing e-cars, these services not only decrease the volume of vehicles on the road since there is less need for personal vehicles, but also allows for reallocating space in urban areas for public benefit.

Benefitting further from this movement is the integration of carsharing services with other sustainable transport options such as public transport, walking, biking, etc. By combining all options, this creates a more ecological way of living and a more convenient and flexible way for people to travel. But in order for this initiative to be successful, operators and cities must work together and invest in the necessary infrastructure.

IDV—the key to your transport services.

IDnow jumps on the train here as an important key in this necessary infrastructure. As regulations increase within major cities, safety requirements are implemented and theft rises, operators realize the importance of identifying their customers before allowing them to use their services. From age and driver’s license verification to digital signatures, our automated identity verification solution allow operators to verify their users within seconds.

We drive trust, not frustration, with our services, providing a safe and secure experience for mobility operators and their customers. With fast, 24/7 remote onboarding, transport services can offer their users a frictionless and convenient way to travel while operators can rest-assured that they are meeting regulatory needs and fighting fraud upfront with our use of biometrics.

Thanks to our wide range of document coverage (types of documents and origin) with up to 99% acceptance rate globally as well as a choice of automated or even expert-led verification services, operators can scale with confidence.

Tap into document and biometric verification for seamless mobility experiences.

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Kristen Walter
Jr. Content Marketing Manager
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