In October 2017, private operators started rolling out a new type of service in France: self-service bicycles without a station, known as “free-floating” bikes. By September 2018, more than 8000 free-floating bicycles were launched in Paris, while the Vélib’ service was still suffering from issues related to the operator change initiated in Autumn 2017.
6t conducted a study on behalf of ADEME on the users and uses of these services. The data collection took the form of a survey, which Ofo and Mobike shared through their platforms. The study aimed to answer the following questions:
- Who are the users of free-floating bikes in Paris?
- What are the characteristics of trips made with frefloating bikes?
- What are the impacts of free-floating bikes services on the mobility of their users?
- Users identify “saving time” and “the ability to carry out door-to-door journeys” as the most important reasons for using free-floating bikes. In other words, people tend to chose those services for their most innovative aspect, namely the “seamless” nature of the journey.
- People unfamiliar with cycling make up the larger part of this service’s audience. More than half of the users never used the Vélib’ before the arrival of Mobike and Ofo’s services.
- By comparing trips made with free-floating bikes with those made using Autolib’, we observe common elements which seem specific to one-way vehicle-sharing services. In both cases there is a relative under-representation of home and work-related journeys but a high frequency of intermodal trips and trips to and from recreational activities. One-way vehicle sharing services thus fill an existing need for ways to carry out rapidly the least structuring and most diffuse trips of everyday life, trips which public transports often have difficulty catering to.
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