One of the UK’s leading micromobility companies, Beryl, insists that e-scooters will continue to play a vital role in properly integrated multimodal urban transport, despite Parisians voting to end their three existing schemes.
Beryl CEO, Phil Ellis, maintains that e-scooters complement shared systems and boost service provision and resilience, enabling cities to rely on them as a fundamental part of their transport strategies. This impact is diminished when e-bike or e-scooter schemes are delivered in isolation and without proper integration.
The referendum held in Paris on Sunday, April 2, saw almost 90% vote in favour of banning shared e-scooters in the city, meaning the three separate contracts – Dott, Lime and Tier, will not be renewed when they expire in August this year.
Beryl operates shared e-scooter schemes in partnership with BCP Council, Norfolk County Council and Isle of Wight Council.
All three are delivered alongside other modes under properly integrated schemes, designed to complement local transport networks and encourage people to develop more sustainable travel habits.
Ellis said: “Our shared systems not only exist to encourage behaviour change toward shared active travel, boosting air quality and public health while cutting traffic congestion, they also add resilience and patronage to public transport systems.
“Sharing systems play a fundamental role in the public transport mix of a city and can punch well above their weight in improving the health and sustainability of towns and cities. Ultimately, they are better with e-scooters in them, than without them.”
The findings of Beryl’s latest Annual Rider Report reflect this point. They show that more than half of the 3000+ respondents used Beryl trips to connect with public transport.
The report also showed that riders in Beryl schemes actively embrace variety, with respondents from scheme areas where e-scooters are present much more likely to try multiple modes and ride more often.
Ellis believes that proper integration is the key to success, with Paris an example of how three separate schemes run by three different operators can offer members of the public “a skewed vision on true integration”.
“I believe that the lack of proper integration, and the subsequent public vision this created, actively changed the nature of the Paris referendum,” he explained.
“It stopped being a vote on whether shared electric scooters can benefit residents and visitors to a city, instead becoming a vote on whether shared electric scooters should be banned based on what you’ve seen so far.”
Ellis also points out that, with some people unwilling or unable to use bicycles, the presence of e-scooters can encourage enough take-up of sustainable modes to make a scheme financially viable without private subsidy.
Long-term, he doesn’t believe that the Paris vote foretells a bleak future for the role of e-scooters in public sharing schemes.
He added: “It means that organisations, politicians and transport authorities have the opportunity to more clearly deploy shared bike, e-bike and e-scooter sharing systems that fulfil the potential of these modes and target mode shift from private cars and a behaviour change toward shared travel.”