Bolt is to become one of the first global operators in the micromobility industry to roll out distance-based pricing in the city of Brussels to encourage safer scooter riding habits.
The current industry standard to charge based on a per-minute pricing model can incentivise riders to reach their destinations as quickly as possible, potentially leading to speeding and other risky behaviours like running traffic lights.
Bolt hopes that charging riders based on how far they have travelled rather than time spent on the vehicle will encourage users to prioritise safety over speed.
Bolt will first roll out the new pricing model in the Belgian capital later this year to all riders.
The decision to launch distance-based pricing was welcomed by Bolt’s newly formed independent Micromobility Safety Committee that consists of six mobility experts. It is chaired by María Seguí-Gómez, former Director General for Traffic at the Spanish Interior Ministry, and first met in September.
Zag Daily asked Bolt’s VP of Rentals Dmitri Pivovarov if the new pricing model was driven by new research.
“The advice to set distance-based pricing instead of charging riders per distance has been raised a couple of times by industry experts, including our panel of independent mobility experts who sit on our Micromobility Safety Committee,” said Pivovarov. “It is very logical that taking away the incentive to make trips as fast as possible translates into enhanced safety. However, so far, we have lacked tangible proof of the solution’s impact. Bolt is the first operator to offer distance-based pricing, and soon, we’ll be able to share tangible information about it.”
When asked if he thinks the pricing model will be better or worse for Bolt from a business revenue perspective, he said: “Bolt is at the forefront of shared scooters and e-bikes affordability, and we intend to keep it that way. The new pricing model will be structured so that the price per ride will be similar to our current model. This means customers in Brussels won’t notice any change in price, and we don’t anticipate any significant effect on revenue.”
In addition to launching distance-based pricing, the Committee also recommended that Bolt review its data-gathering to better assess the impact of micromobility on vulnerable groups, such as the visually impaired, to understand potential risks and develop solutions to tackle them.
It was also advised that definitions of what constitutes an accident be more closely aligned with other transport types.