In contemporary times, bike sharing companies have started partnering with mobility as a service (MaaS) providers to increase their ridership, by offering integrated solutions to users. For example, in May 2019, Uber Technologies Inc., a ride-hailing giant, announced a joint pilot program with Yulu Bikes Pvt. Ltd., a bike sharing company. Under this program, the services of Yulu will be provided to Uber users via the smartphone application of the latter. Moreover, such partnerships allow the daily users of public mobility services to decrease their dependence on costlier modes of transport, such as autorickshaws and ride hailing.
Moreover, the growing congestion on urban roads, on account of the booming population, has led to the widescale adoption of shared bikes services in several major cities. Urban roads overflow with vehicles in the peak hours, due to the surging number of daily commuters. The introduction of shared bike fleets in towns has helped in combating the problem of traffic, as bikes require a lesser traveling area and smaller parking space. This will, therefore, help the bike sharing market grow by 10.2% during 2019â€“2025. The market generated $2.7 billion in 2018, and it will generate $5.0 billion by 2025.
With the electrification of the automobile industry, bike sharing companies are increasingly including e-bikes in their fleets, as they offer a higher speed for short distances than conventional pedal-powered bikes. Moreover, features like effortless driving, variable motor power as per the road condition, and more convenience make e-bikes more suitable for sharing purposes than conventional bikes. In addition to e-bikes, such mass mobility providers are also incorporating e-scooters in their fleets. These scooters are equipped with internet of things (IoT) devices that enable smart unlocking.
Bike sharing companies offer dock-less and station-based services. The dock-less model offers flexible parking and cheap mobility, owing to which customers have traditionally preferred them over station-based services. However, in the coming years, the demand for station-based services will surge, on account of the greater acceptance of this service among the government of several countries. This is because this system decreases the chances of the frenzy created by the improper parking of dock-less bikes and incorporates e-bikes in its fleets.
Geographically, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region witnessed the highest adoption of bike sharing services in the past. This can be ascribed to the large fleet size of several operators in the region, especially in China. Moreover, the escalating investments in these companies have led to the expansion of the services. For instance, Chinese bike sharing companies, such as Mobike and Hellobike, have received huge investments in the last few years. Owing to these developments, the region will witness the highest usage of shared bikes in the coming years too.
According to P&S Intelligence, the European bike sharing market will display the fastest growth in the near future. This can be attributed to the strong presence of such companies across the region and incorporation of station-based e-bikes in the fleets. With the increasing preference for alternative modes of public transport, the number of shared bike schemes in regional nations is burgeoning. For example, in October 2019, Uber Technologies Inc. (Jump) introduced its sharing services in Rome, Italy, with 700 bikes in the initial phase.
Thus, the growing demand for alternative modes of public transport and increasing inclusion of e-bikes in the fleets will fuel the expansion of bike sharing services.