Bolt eyes micromobility expansion as firm quadruples in size

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Ride-hailing and micromobility operator Bolt has quadrupled in size since the start of the pandemic, with scooter and e-bike usage on the rise across all markets.

Since Bolt expanded into micromobility in August 2018 it has grown to cover 230 cities across 25 countries in Europe.

This year, the Estonian firm is looking to expand its footprint further by investing €150m in micromobility across Europe.

The plan is to operate 230,000 e-scooters and e-bikes by the end of the year.

Driving this vision is Bolt’s mission to offer people and cities as many alternatives to private cars as possible.

“In the last four years we have launched five models of Bolt scooters and we’ve included e-bikes into our fleet,” Bolt’s VP of Rentals Dmitri Pivovarov told Zag Daily.

“We have raised the bar for safety and introduced numerous features, such as our patent-pending tandem riding detection feature or our cognitive reaction test aimed at discouraging intoxicated driving. The impact of these efforts is covered in Bolt’s newest safety report, demonstrating that we have decreased our accidents ratio by 13% in 2021 compared to 2020. All while increasing the number of rides 5x in the same timeframe.”

In March 2022, Bolt registered a 500% growth in the number of micromobility rides across all markets compared to March 2021.

The firm believes this 500% growth is due to moving into more cities and people becoming more aware that micromobility modes can substitute car rides. But there is still plenty of room for growth.

According to a study Bolt ran with the Institute of Transport Economics in Norway, up to 60% of users on average can opt to choose a shared scooter over a ride-hail, especially for distances of up to 3km.

In a signal as to where Bolt is heading next, Bolt’s CEO and Founder Markus Villig said: “The rising levels of inflation and interest rates mean we have to be disciplined when assessing how and in what markets we invest. This could mean prioritising growth efforts in our existing markets instead of expanding our services into new countries. Our culture of frugality helped us come out of the pandemic in a strong position, but the challenges are not going to stop and the team is focused on preparing for and responding to them.”

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