The number of scooters in cities around the world is quickly growing.
Though communities like San Francisco and Santa Monica, Calif. limited the number of scooters companies could offer for rent last year, other cities are still seeing a major increase in the number of available electric two-wheelers.
On Thursday, Lime announced that its scooters and bicycles reached 50 million trips since launching mid-2017. That’s enough mileage to circle the globe twice. Those trips come from a growing, global bike- and-scooter share network that reaches 100 cities in more than 20 countries, and five continents. The latest places Lime e-scooters have landed: Bogota, Colombia and Montevideo, Uruguay. Lime also said its had more than 15 million sign-ups.
In the U.S., Austin, San Diego, and Atlanta are just some of the cities where you can find scooters from a wide range of rental companies like Bird, Lime, Uber’s Jump, Lyft, Bolt, Ford’s Spin, and others. Portland, Oregon, is launching a new yearlong pilot Friday after the success of a smaller one last year. The program will start with 2,500 scooters and could increase by the end of the year to 15,000.
Even San Francisco last week doubled the fleet size for the two e-scooter operators allowed in the city.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials, which tracks shared micromobility usage throughout the U.S., puts 38.5 million trips on e-scooters in 2018, surpassing bike-share trips (36.5 million trips) for the first time. Throughout 100 U.S. cities NACTO tallied about 85,000 e-scooters available for rent. Other companies are moving beyond American cities, like Bird throughout Europe and in Tel Aviv.
Scoot — known for both its red e-scooters and electric mopeds — expanded to Santiago, Chile, and Barcelona, Spain last year, moving well beyond the confines of San Francisco. Madrid has 18 different e-scooter-share companies operating within city limits. In Singapore, 14 scooter companies have applied to bring its fleets there.
William Henderson, CEO and co-founder of Ride Report, a software system that connects cities with scooter operators and scooter data, has watched bicycle advocacy fight for space and infrastructure in cities over the years, but with scooters, “all of a sudden we have this tremendous growth.” After working with different cities, he’s seen demand for scooter-share services continue and not just blip out after the first few months. “This is serving a real need to get around cities efficiently and affordably,” he added.
Lime also released more demographics about its U.S. riders, like how 33 percent are female and 36 identifying as people of color. One-third of Lime riders earn $50,000 or less, according to its rider reports.
A survey of San Francisco scooter riders (on Skip and Scoot vehicles only) released last week at city program’s mid-way point found some different breakdowns, with scooter-riders 82 percent male, 63 percent white, and 68 percent with an income of more than $100,000.