Myth 2: Rented Scooters Are Solution For the First Mile & Last Mile Of A Journey
- The scooter rental industry claims it solves the "First Mile - Last Mile" transportation problem, the problem that someone not using a car, has to walk a mile on average to or from the transit network to reach their destination.
- This also is an illusion as the economics of the rental industry make it apparent that private ownership of a scooter is by far less costly, less risky and more likely to lower carbon emissions than renting one.
- But in a city with a climate like San Diego's, walking is usually not a "problem" for most and so, yet again, the best solution is WALKING.
THE COST OF RENTING LEADS TO THE MAIN MARKET BEING TOURISTS RATHER THAN LOCALS
Of critical importance is the tourism/visitor market in any city as tourists generally don't travel with either helmets or their own scooter or bike, whereas those locals who decide to use scooters regularly, quickly figure out that it can make more sense to own one than rent and they, like many owners of bicycles, have and use a helmet.
The comparative cost effectiveness of private ownership is easily estimated. Assuming the following:
- Fee to access the scooter: $1.
- Distance travelled between: 1 to 2 miles - say average 1.5 miles.
- Assume average speed of 10mph, (two-thirds of the maximum speed allowed in California). Therefore 1.5 mile trip duration = 9 minutes. (A local scooter rental company recently stated that the average journey time of their users is fifteen minutes. If so the following cost calculations should be increased commensurately).
- Per minute Fee = $0.39.
- Cost of Trip = $1 + (9 * $0.39) = $1 + $3.51 = $4.51..
- Assume two trips per day on weekdays to and from work and just one return trip each day at weekends = 14 trips per week.
- Weekly rental cost = 14 * $4.51 = ~$63.
This estimated cost of course increases with longer average trips and slower average speeds. Say the average speed was 7.5mph (half the maximum allowed), and the average trip distance 2 miles, then the trip duration increases to 16 minutes and the weekly cost increases to ~$101. At the same average speed but for an average distances of only 1 mile the cost is half that: ~$50.
Currently, motorized scooters for adults may be purchased for under $200. Amazon lists its "Amazon Choice" as the "Razor E200 Electric Scooter - 8" Air-Filled Tires, 200-Watt Motor, Up to 12 mph and 40 min of Ride Time". Priced before tax at $248 with "Used and New offers" priced .at ~$117.
As can be seen, a privately owned scooter used for "First Mile - Last Mile" transportation to and from work and occasional weekend trips need only last a few months to be less expensive than a rented scooter and modern scooters for sale are foldable making them convenient to secure.
Private ownership has the further advantage that the user knows the history of use and maintenance of the device, and can invest in a helmet for protection.
In addition, a private owner buying to reduce carbon emissions can achieve that goal if car trips are replaced, can maintain the scooter to ensure it lasts, and can know that vans and trucks are not being driven around to move it around.
It is thus likely that local people, who might initially use rentable motorized scooters, say, to try them out, will, if they like them, buy their own.
The result then is that the increasingly significant market for rentable motorized scooters will be tourists driving them for fun, and not as a solution to a regular transit connection problem.