Almost 10 000 e-steps, scooters, and shared bikes in Brussels
The corona pandemic has led to fewer journeys in Brussels. As a result, there has been a stop in the boom in the number of shared mobility operators that the city experienced two years ago. Several operators, such as Hive, Wind, or Tier, withdrew from the market.
Yet the Brussels’ micro-mobility sector continues to do well, especially since it enables users to maintain social distancing while traveling short distances. With Good Move, the new regional mobility plan, the introduction of the general 30 zones, the increase in the number of cycle paths, and the LEZ, the city is also making a lot of efforts to allow the micro-mobility sector to gain a dominant position in Brussels.
A varying number of operators
Two main operators monopolize the market of e-steps in Brussels: Amsterdam-based Dott, which has more than 2 100 e-steps in circulation, and Lime, which has a fleet of 899 e-steps. The third player is Bird, with about 200 e-steps.
As far as e-scooters are concerned, Felyx has a total of 193 e-scooters in the capital, compared with 171 for Poppy, and Estonian micro-mobility company Bolt will also distribute e-scooters in Brussels soon.
Villo! is not the only player
For shared bikes, calculating the number of shared bikes becomes a little more complicated as there are so many players on the market. The largest, of course, is Villo! with its fleet of 5 000 bicycles.
But Blue Bike also offers shared bikes in the city, and Billy Bikes hopes to double its number of bikes from 450 to 1000 by spring. And the Californian company Lime, which has taken over the bikes from Jump, has meanwhile also reintroduced at least 421 shared bikes into the city. Not to mention the various smaller players.
Prospects are good
“The market is quite volatile, some operators are leaving, others are replacing them,” explains Camille Thiry, spokesperson for Brussels Mobility to La Dernière Heure. “After justified fears following the confinement, the prospects are rather good. European micro-mobility start-ups always tell us that they have the confidence of investors. This allows stabilization and probably a further consolidation of the market.”
Brussels also has several other assets of interest to improve micro-mobility. There is Good Move, the new regional mobility plan that proposes a new way of travelling and living in Brussels. The city also puts a lot of effort into MaaS (Mobility as a Service), the platform bringing together all the mobility offers present in the city.
Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), the Brussels Minister for Mobility, sums it up like this: “We want Brussels to be a place of welcome for these micro-mobilities, in particular by integrating them into the MaaS, and also a place where micro-mobility vehicles and other users can live together in public space.”
On the site of Brussels Mobility you will find up to date information about traffic and mobility in the capital. But it also offers some practical tips to ride safely on an e-step. For example, you can ride on the sidewalk as long as you do not exceed walking pace. The site also points out that you must not underestimate the consequence of a scooter accident. It is safer to wear a bicycle helmet because the risk of fracture and head trauma is real in the event of a fall.
They also ask to think about people with reduced mobility. Therefore, park your scooter on the street side (and not the house front side) parallel to the sidewalk and do not park your scooter on the tactile tiles.