It was certainly a bold marketing tactic from Bolt in Germany to offer Berlin residents 2,500 EUR of credit (ride-hail, e-scooter and e-bike) if they trade in their car. And no, not for a day but they would actually scrap it for you and repurpose parts! However, I don’t know if making cars the enemy is necessarily the way forward for any micro-mobility provider.
Micro-mobility like scooters and bike-sharing schemes almost exclusively exist in urban environments. But in the UK, there are millions of people who live outside urban environments who don’t have access to these innovative forms of active travel and rely on their cars to connect them to work and their community. We shouldn’t forget that there is a reason that driving is such a popular form of getting around; it is inclusive and there is a car for almost all budgets and living situations. This is why even convincing drivers to choose electric cars is still somewhat of a struggle. EVs still cost more and the vast majority of people don’t have the luxury of off-street parking, so charging is still seen as a real barrier.
With congestion charges and petrol prices at an all-time high but air pollution as bad as it was pre-pandemic there is no question that people need to drive less. Especially for short journeys. It is a no brainer. But it’s not about making people feel bad about driving; it’s about providing more convenient alternatives and acknowledging there are still times when driving is the most cost-effective (petrol prices aside!), safe and most importantly, inclusive mode of transport.
Like all new technology – and I consider micro-mobility in that space – early adopters tend to be those that have more money and opportunities and are often urban dwellers. A more productive focus for micro-mobility providers would be to expand their networks and encourage governments to invest more in cycle lanes in less well connected areas so everyone can benefit from cleaner, active travel.