Companies Report Mixed Impact
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many businesses across the United States as people follow social distancing guidelines in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. Early in the crisis, reports indicated that shared-scooter operators were being hit heavily, but more recent data from some companies shows a shift, with users taking more trips and the average trip length growing as well.
In May, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that demand for scooter rentals had allbut disappeared, with many larger scooter companies incurring substantial losses. The likely reason was widespread fear of contact with something previously used by unknown persons due to uncertainty about how contagious the virus was and how it spread.
Earlier this month, however, the scooter company Spin said numbers have gone up year over year in both the number of trips booked and the length of each trip. Spin disclosed that the average trip went from 15 minutes in 2019 to 22 minutes for the same time period in 2020.
Scooter operator Lime conducted a public survey in June, finding that more than two of every three respondents said they would use shared scooters in the future. Just twelve months earlier, about 40% of respondents gave a similar response. More than a third (35%) said they would use a shared scooter at least once a week, and one in four respondents expressed interest in purchasing their own scooter.
Public health experts say that using shared scooters can be safe during the pandemic, provided you treat the bikes like you would any other potentially contaminated surface and fully sanitize them before you get aboard.
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