Why Are We Seeing An Emergence Of New Modes Of Transport And Why Do They Appeal To The Swipe Left Or Right Generations?

Our modern world is moving at an unprecedented speed. The attention spans of Gen Zs and Millennials have shortened and brands are scrambling to capture a fraction of their increasingly stretched disposable incomes. The speed of technological change has meant consumers have adopted higher expectations of companies to offer greater convenience for less money. This has driven competing brands to excel in the level of service offered and consider introducing new perks for employees and customers.

Are you hungry and want lunch? Don’t-move-a-muscle. A few thumb movements later and a person in a helmet is holding your katsu curry in at your front door. It’s a Thursday and your schedule has freed up for the evening and you are up for a date. No worries. Just swipe right and you could be sitting opposite someone you may potentially end up marrying. That’s kind of scary but hey, this is 2019!

The technological change in the transport market is no exception, particularly when the mobility industry is under scrutiny to mitigate their contribution to climate change. The rush of people to live in towns and cities has meant public transport and road traffic regularly breaches 100% capacity for safety and comfort. If you have ever travelled on London’s central line at 8:30 in the morning then I don’t need to remind you what it feels like to be a sardine in a tin can.

Toxic air, mainly due to cars, taxis and trucks, is so awful in parts of London that scientists have recently reported it is 3X above a legally safe limit. In total, pollution has lead to 9000 premature deaths in 2018 across the UK and 7 million globally from respiratory related illness, including lung cancer. 2/3 of those with asthma say that polluted air can leave them fighting for breath. In fact, every 10 seconds someone in the UK is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. It is the Gen Z and millennial generations that will feel the worsening impact of this pollution and climate change as a whole in the years to come. It is therefore not unreasonable to read that it is these groups that are most heavily demanding change. So what is one of the solutions to our critical congestion and toxic air crisis in cities across Europe? In the last 18 months we have seen the rapid growth of popularity of new modes of personal transport that are clean, affordable and fast. These include advancements in electric scooters (for adults) and bikes but more on these in just a second.

Your choice of mode of transport considers similar factors to any consumer purchase decision. Imagine you have just started a new job and you are working out the best way to commute to your new place of work. You may consider the 3 following factors:

  1. Convenience - Is the vehicle instantly or regularly available and can help offer a more direct route to destination? 
  2. Cost -  Is it valued use of money?
  3. Speed - Is it the fastest method?

Of course, each of the 3 factors rely heavily on the value of the other. There are, however, other key elements to the decision that the masses of commuters often neglect in favour of these mentioned key-stones. For example, have you considered your personal happiness? According to a recent poll, two-thirds of Londoners found using public transport as the most stressful part of living in the capital. I don’t blame them; the average commute into London takes 74 minutes! This isn’t helped by what I describe as a ‘commuter’s admin,’ which includes the morale draining necessity of having to change platforms or wait for the next bus or train. No smiling, no talking. Did you wake up with the scratchy throat this morning? Well don’t dare cough on the tube otherwise you will be thrown stares of evil to bottle your prevailing sickness. Yet you may be paying £5 a day for 2 daily courses of just half a square foot of space. That’s £1500 a year. You may have asked yourself where else could this be money be spent? Why couldn’t you have an extra 20 minutes in bed? Why is there no consistent WiFi down here? Did someone just fart? F-F-S.

Here is a proven solution to these problems: electric scooters. Global investment in the e-scooter industry has risen from £11 million in 2015 to over £2.5 billion in 2018. Why? For urban trips less than 5 miles they typically deliver the fastest, most affordable, convenient and happiest travel solution. We have seen Uber pave the way with vehicle sharing with their ride hailing business model but it is not a financially viable mode of transport for daily use. I am a big advocate for bicycle travel but the large part of commuters don’t seem to enjoy arriving sweaty; they find cycling in workwear uncomfortable and they can be quite technical to ride. This paves the way for new modes of transport, such as e-scooters, which are as simple as stepping on and off a platform. These modern vehicles, however, are currently deemed illegal based on an out of date 1835 Highway Act which also happens to mention the use of horses and carriages in the same paragraph outlining their prohibition. Worry not friends - following a meeting with Transport For London, I am under the firm impression that we will very likely see their legalisation early in 2020. In the meantime, e-scooter commuter pioneers seem unconcerned as the numbers of riders continues to surge across the country to follow suit with the rest of the continent. The demand here has risen, in part, from Brits returning home with great excitement to use electric scooters here having enjoyed them in virtually every other city in Europe and the USA. So much for our mayor’s commitment  to an ‘ultra low emission zone’ when gas guzzling, traffic-contributing taxis and uber remain in high demand in the absence of e-scooters.

In the meantime, Blue Scooters will continue to capitalise on our early mover advantage inside the corporate micro-mobility market. We are supporting European businesses including commercial and residential building owners to provide their employees and customers with a sustainable amenity which can return profitable rental income. Our private e-scooter and bike fleet packages are turnkey mobility solutions to reduce car travel and to strengthen our clients reputation for tackling climate change. It is unanimously agreed that both consumers and potential employees expect to see that the companies they are buying from or applying to work at demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and willingness to look after them with modern perks. Fail to do this and they will inevitably face being swiped left.