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Shared Micro Mobility Opportunity for low income Austin residents

The upfront cost of biking is too high for many people. Shared micro-mobility offers short term access to bikes and scooters, at little cost

Photo of Curtis Rogers
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Bikes and scooters are great for short trips (too long to walk, too short to drive) and offer a great help to traffic and justification for better bike infrastructure. Cities have subsidized driving by forcing homes and businesses to offer parking for cars, but little for alternative transportation. Cities cannot afford to equip each person with a bike or scooter, but new micro-mobility offers a way for cities to introduce driving alternatives at a low cost. Through simple promo codes, the city could grant credits to low income users to try renting bikes and scooters, and hopefully adopt it as an alternative to each person needing to own a car.


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Photo of Ahmad Shreidi

Hey Curtis! Facilitator here with the City:One Challenge! Thank you for your contribution !

We would like to invite you to expand on this subject. City-wide promo-codes to promote these alternative forms of transformation are a great idea. Do you feel trends such as micro-mobility will continue to grow? Do you feel they have improved mobility as a whole in Austin?

Thank you!

Photo of Curtis Rogers

Hi Ahmad,

Happy to discuss more. To answer your questions (growth, improved mobility) YES & YES!

The scooters have clearly taken the market, but I personally believe e-bikes will also be a player in the long run. Many people still don't know that services like JUMP have an electric boost, making them a great option for hills and heat in Austin. Regardless of personal preference, both e-scooters and e-bikes will continue to grow in popularity.

The companies offering these services will be interested in participating, but especially if we can make the case for helping to rebalance the scooters. If the city can help supply rides to employers that are not in the normal business centers, this could help naturally redistribute the scooters so they cover a larger area (and don't pile up in the same place). I can't speak for all of them, but I know some of the service providers care about equity, and will be interested in reaching communities that have been ignored in the past. We are starting to see e-bike and e-scooter racks, and the distribution of those would be a big appearance improvement.

One important point - I think the number of micro mobility rides should be limited each month. We want people to continue to take transit, but would like to help complement that behavior and consider other non-car options.

Growth in ridership will also challenge the city to add better bike/scooter infrastructure, possibly in areas that have not been considered in the past. It's worth asking the companies if they plan to offer services through SMS if the user doesn't have a smartphone, but I also believe that the expansion of the smartphone will reach more and more people every year going forward.

Like I mentioned before, the upfront cost of biking is too high to distribute bikes to everyone interested, but the short-term investment in these services would be a great test to see if it can push behavior change.

Thanks for the consideration!