If 2019 was the year of rental scooters2020 has thrown the entire micro mobility sector into a challenge of growth and survival at the same time. In recent weeks, orders for electric escooters have already exploded, following the government's decision to guarantee a 500 euro mobility bonus for those who buy green vehicles and are residing in the city of at least 50 thousand inhabitants (all specifications are on the website of the Ministry of the Environment). It is still uncertain when the platform to obtain a refund will go online, but it is reasonable to expect more and more means of this type along cycle paths and roads.
The scooter rental has a new protagonist: Dr., a startup founded in France in 2018 to provide a shared scooter service, has just landed in Milan and Rome a few days ago, with 750 and a thousand scooters respectively. And it does so at a time when they are dealing with the sharing economy legitimate fears due to Covid-19 - who will use it more knowing that bikes and scooters are rented by many strangers? -, and therefore forced to react to an unprecedented crisis. "Unlike other realities, we have not fired anyone: we have kept all the cities active," he explains Andrea Giaretta, general manager for Italy of Dott, startup that has chosen to stay in Europe, where he is present in cities such as Brussels, Lyon, Paris, Munich and Warsaw.
Post-lockdown challenge for scooter rental
«During the emergency and lockdown in Turin, where we rent 500 vehicles, we made the service free for doctors, nurses and pharmacists - adds Giaretta - this period taught us to manage a city in critical situations. We aim for density: we want to offer a service as widespread as possible for customers ». Maybe convincing them not to buy a scooter with the mobility bonus, but buying a subscription? «The real discriminator lies in the use: if it is daily, it is logical to take advantage of the mobility bonus. But those who do it must know right away that they will have to face constant maintenance costs: the scooter is a light vehicle that can be easily worn ».
Available on apps like all the others competing companies Scooter rental that already arrived in our cities in 2019, Dott was among the first to offer scooters with ten-inch wheels, better for road safety. "The company - explains the general manager for Italy - is constantly working on research and development, both on the application and on the maintenance side. It is necessary to research all the stratagems for decrease maintenance, ensure that the components of the scooter are well protected, less subject to wear and optimal for safe driving ».
Scooter rental rental, there are those who want the closed number
And with regard to road safety, not everyone is ready to welcome the advance of scooters with open arms. TO WebMotori, the commander of the local police of Verona and representatives of the municipal police of Italy, Luigi Altamura, launched the proposal of the closed number for cities: "We need controls and rules, otherwise there is a risk of tragedies," said Altamura.
The economic crisis that erupted following the pandemic has affected all sectors and also the world of sharing economy, from Airbnb and Uber down, has suffered losses. As regards mobility, one of the major brakes has certainly been the lockdown: the closure of schools and universities and the spread of smart working have drastically reduced the commuter population in large cities. The other issue concerns the disinfection of means: how is it guaranteed? «It is not possible to sanitize every scooter after each use - explains Giaretta -: the concept of sharing would disappear. But this procedure was already done and continues today when the vehicle is brought into the warehouse for weekly maintenance ».
Alessandro Di Stefano