According to the Ride Report, a Portland Oregon-based organization that analyzed Edmonton’s e-scooter usage from Lime and Bird, each Edmonton-based scooter averaged more than two trips per day (from June to October, 2020). But this was the “eureka” stat: In 2019, trips longer than 10 kilometres made up only 0.5 per cent of all rides purchased in Edmonton. In 2020, that number rose to four per cent. That’s an eightfold increase in long-distance rides.
Meghan Prichard, a marketing strategist with Ride Report, says it’s all about the pandemic and how it’s changed our relationship with transit. Whether it be due to reduced service because of the virus, or fears about being in close quarters with other passengers, the rise in long scooter trips had a lot to do with people replacing their bus or LRT rides with services from Lime and/or Bird.
“Micromobility provides a safe, socially-distant way for people to get around town in times when public transit may be reduced and/or its difficult to maintain proper distancing requirements on transit,” Prichard wrote in an e-mail response.
The question: Will those riders who switched from ETS to e-scooters go back to transit when the pandemic subsides? Or did the pandemic do its part to help entrench scooters as part of our commuting culture?
This article appears in the March 2021 issue of Edify.