Are Scooters the New Public Transport?


Alyson Gessner

Show them Love

June 20, 2021

In Ann Arbor, Michigan there are electric Spin Scooters on every corner in the downtown area. My brother went to UCLA and saw the Bird Scooter brand just as often. And one of our own sustainability analysts, Greta Fedderson, even gave Voi Scooters a whopping 2.5/3 planets. Electric scooters are taking cities by storm all around the world, and frankly I’m glad to see it.

Public transportation can be a nightmare. Subway systems can be crowded and claustrophobic, buses can be unreliable due to traffic, and even more private rides like Ubers are expensive and as carbon intensive as driving oneself. In this post-COVID age, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an increasing demand for efficient, open-air transport, and electric scooters are a perfect option. You can grab one off the street and simply drop it off when you reach your exact destination. It’s efficient, relatively inexpensive (although prices obviously vary between brands), and far more environmentally friendly than the average car. In fact, a Voi Electric Scooter emits only 35g of carbon dioxide per person per kilometer. In comparison, a petrol car emits 200g of carbon dioxide per person per kilometer.

But Voi is a particularly great company beyond their low carbon emissions. They are dedicated to implementing a circular economy, being made out of 90% recycled materials, and 99% of the scooter ending up recycled. Furthermore, they are charged with renewable hydropower energy, thus diverting the entire fossil fuel industry once they’re on the streets. (Most of the CO2 emitted by the scooters is a result of the manufacturing process, not their use itself.) Not only have they made great strides in their product, but they continue to set goals to improve their sustainability, including finding ways to recycle more of their batteries, lower emissions in production, and partner with local cities and communities.

Overall, it’s exciting to see innovative takes on public transportation spreading around the world. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions and growing green cities is going to take creative ideas and practical implementations, and e-scooters seem to be hitting both of those marks. While scooters may not be able to replace cars, busses, and trains completely, providing a new clean method of transportation can only help decongest public transport and lower emissions. And besides, who doesn’t want to ride a scooter all around their city? 

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