After a temporary suspension of activities since mid-March due to containment measures, e-scooter service Lime is restarting its services in Brussels, the US-based company said on Friday.
From now on, 250 scooters are available throughout the capital. The fleet will then be gradually adapted to demand and the resumption of activities.
For several weeks, Lime had been removing its electric scooters to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The company explained that it had suspended operations as a precautionary measure and to comply with government directives, but that it would return once the crisis was under control.
The company aims to also provide service to peripheral cities as its scooters are “alternatives to the individual car at the time of deconfinement”.
All scooters are disinfected during maintenance in the workshop, or when loaded or deployed in the city, the company assures. Cleaning methods have been improved and the frequency of disinfection has increased, it added.
E-scooters will become the go-to mobility solution in Brussels, and around the world, when the lockdown measures are lifted, according to experts and shared-mobility companies.
When the lockdown lifts, cities and their inhabitants will face a mobility problem, as people will be asked to respect the social distancing measures, but authorities worry that the use of cars could create important congestion problems.
The global shared e-scooter market is expected to boom over the next four years, with the number of shared scooters in use expected to quadruple, from about 774,000 in 2019 to more than 4 million by 2024, according to figures from market analysis firm Berg Insight.
In the Brussels region, an additional 40 kilometres of cycling paths will also be created, to help ease public transport flows in the phasing out of the lockdown.
Even before the health crisis, e-scooters were gaining in popularity, with their sales being on the rise since August 2019, and they should overtake those of electric bicycles this year, according to experts.
Lime competitor Dott already returned to the site on 4 May, getting up to its normal supply of 3,000 scooters by the start of deconfinement. The company had previously switched to a “minimum service” in mid-March, offering only 2,000 throughout the capital.