Milton Keynes is moving by scooter and it’s A Beautiful Thing.
Three micromobility operators are running shared electric scooter trials in the city. And citizens are taking to the low-carbon, high-tech contraptions like a Baby Yoda takes to moving things with his mind.
Spin, the Ford-owned micromobility firm, got there first: its red scooters touched down on the city’s Redways on 22 August. Four days later, it was the turn of fellow American supersized operation Lime, which arrived with rather more media fanfare and an existing local bike-share platform. Ginger, the plucky British David to its Goliath-like competitors, turned up fashionably late to the party.
Enough words. Spin has given us access to lovely, lovely data, so here are some numbers.
In the first 26 days of the Milton Keynes programme, Spin e-scooters notched up 10,000 rides, thanks to 3,500 customers. Those riders scooted for an average journey time of 16 minutes. And 63% of riders surveyed (sample size 500) said they had replaced a car drive by themselves with a scooter trip.
Considering that Spin is one of three e-scooter providers in Milton Keynes, alongside two bike-share options, these are impressive numbers.
“We’ve done some maths and we reckon Spin scooters are averaging 3.4 trips/vehicle/day,” says Zag’s data scientist and analyst Oliver O’Brien. (We have made some assumptions here, including an estimate of the daily fleet size.) “This is respectable. I generally say anything between two and four is great, especially in a competitive market like Milton Keynes.”
While Spin did not provide us with average journey distance, we’ve done some more Zag maths. “I bet most journeys in MK are around a mile as the crow flies, or around 1.5 miles total,” says O’Brien. “So Spin’s fleet has probably blasted through 15,000 miles already.”
In financial terms, at Spin’s 25p/min ride rate, and taking into account the balance of the fleet sat in a warehouse, we reckon that the company has generated around £100 per scooter so far. That will go a long way towards paying back the capital expenditure of the scooters. It’s an encouraging sign that this affordable, accessible way for citizens to travel will also be financially sustainable for the operators.
The figures look conclusive, particularly when read in context with Ginger’s Middlesbrough numbers and the mind-blowing Voi data from Coventry. It seems Brits love e-scooters enough to leave their cars behind. It’s time to stop dillydallying and start building micromobility-friendly streets.