Similarly to the city bike system, the scooter service was based on fixed stations, from which users collected scooters and to which scooters were returned. On the basis of HSL’s survey, users of the service considered a service with stations to be better than a stationless service because of its clarity. The location of scooters is always known, they are not left lying around and, in addition, electric scooters can also be recharged at stations.
More than half of all respondents have had experience of stationless scooter services in Helsinki.
Some 17,000 rides using scooters
The service offered kick scooters and electric scooters from the middle of May until the end of October. The stations were based in 28 locations in different parts of Vuosaari, and they will be removed after the pilot project. The aim was to locate the stations so that they would cater to people’s mobility needs between their home, workplace, services and recreations.
The service was used with an app provided by service supplier Samocat Sharing. The fee for a regular scooter was EUR 0.50 for the first five minutes and EUR 0.05 for each subsequent minute. Correspondingly, the fee for an electric scooter was EUR 1 for the first five minutes and EUR 0.15 for each subsequent minute.
For example, the use of a kick scooter for 15 minutes was EUR 1 and that of an electric scooter was EUR 2.50. The prices were slightly lower than the charges of electric scooter services operating in downtown Helsinki.
HSL marketed the Samocat service in Vuosaari before and during the pilot. A campaign site was built for the service (hsl.fi/en/cityscooters), and station locations and scooter availability information were also show in the Journey Planner.
Despite all the campaigning, there were fewer users than expected, with a little more than 4,000 people riding the scooters, totaling some 17,000 rides. Of these, 70% were carried out using electric scooters and 30% using regular kick scooters. The utilization rate was low at approximately 0.4 rides per scooter per day, which is roughly the same as the utilization rate of city bikes in Vantaa. The most rides were taken between 4pm and 11pm. The average duration of a single ride was 19 minutes. The most popular scooter station was “Metro east” located east of Vuosaari metro station.
Scooters mainly used for occasional rides
On the basis of the customer survey, Samocat’s scooters were not used on a regular basis, as most customers only used a scooter once or twice a month or even less frequently. Nearly half of all respondents stated that they used scooters for fun, and 44% stated that they used scooters for leisure rides. A little more than 20% responded that they used scooters to ride from home to work.
The use of scooters mainly replaced walking (46%), buses (28%) and bicycles (20%), but also cars (12%). Nearly one in every three responded that scooters did not replace any other modes of transport, which is partly explained by the use of scooters for fun. Almost half of all respondents felt that the service saved time, while only one in ten felt that the service saved money.
The idea behind the service was considered to be good, while the quality of the service needed to be improved. Due to certain functionality issues, users were not very willing to recommend the service to their friends (low NPS). However, users were relatively satisfied with the service (overall rating 3.44 on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest rating).
“HSL carried out this scooter pilot as a result of the IdeaLab competition, and we are not planning to continue our cooperation with Samocat Sharing. This experiment gave us valuable data and experience which we will use to promote sustainable mobility,” says Tarja Jääskeläinen, senior advisor at HSL.