Micro-Mobility Company Bird Expands Its Portfolio to Enable Users with Disabilities to Benefit from Its Services

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By Harriet Sumnall | 2Q 2022 | IN-6538

This insight aims to cover the micro-mobility market movement for one specific service provider—Bird. It has continued to grow throughout the pandemic and is now growing its portfolio to reach a wider audience.

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Micro-Mobility for a Larger Demographic

NEWS


Micro-mobility service providers have been busy growing their portfolios of offerings since the real kick-start of this market back in 2017 when China saw three significant vendors—Ofo, Mobike, and oBike—offer a significant number of bikes through a sharing model. The market originated with pedal bikes, then expanded to electric pedal bikes (pedelecs), and electric scooters, and now Bird is offering a solution that can make wheelchairs part of the shared economy.

The expansion is being trialed in the Bronx, New York City, and is one of the company’s initiatives designed to increase shared mobility access for people with disabilities. At the center of the initiative is a battery-powered attachment that is compatible with a variety of wheelchair models, and it includes a forward and reverse throttle. This initiative aims to make travel around the city easier for wheelchair users, especially for long journeys, and journeys that include hillier terrain.

Portfolio and Customer Outreach Expansion

IMPACT


Expanding the company’s demographic by offering shared mobility for those with a physical disability requiring a wheelchair is a step that will make Bird more competitive. New York City, as a whole, already has shared mobility services offered by Citi Bike and Lime, the latter of which launched a fleet of 1,000 electric scooters in 3Q 2021, making it the only multi-modal micro-mobility operator in New York City at the time. It is one thing for Bird to offer multi-modal transportation methods for the company’s users, but to expand to a new demographic shows its ability to compete with other service providers, all of which are fighting for the same turf.

Micro-Mobility for All

RECOMMENDATIONS


The micro-mobility market has continued to grow throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with service providers offering initiatives to ensure cleanliness for users, with minimal potential transmission being the goal, and has continued to do so as we enter into a post-pandemic world. The use of these forms of transportation has increased with many potential use cases, including last-mile transport, leisure, and use by tourists, to name a few. The growth of service provider portfolios has been important to meet the demand for these services, though it must be noted that service providers are doing so at a sustainable pace, learning from the Chinese failures of Ofo and oBike, to prevent a major crash in the market. Not only is increasing the size of their fleets important, but also the variety of the fleets.

By expanding the fleets to offer a solution that encourages use by other demographics, service providers are offering a more inclusive market, and therefore will become more profitable. While this trial specifically for Bird is being rolled out for free, it will show promise for the future, depending on its success.

Portfolio expansion is crucial for the success of these companies, especially with highly-recognized companies like Lime making strategic business decisions to pull their weight in the market. Lime acquired Uber’s Jump shared bikes, meaning that users can use either the Uber app or the Lime app to use the scooters and bikes on offer. In order to keep pace with competitors, Bird is taking a step forward to offer its services to a wider audience. This not only enables Bird to reach more people, but it also creates a more positive outlook for the brand, with inclusivity being especially important in today’s society.

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