The bicycle subscription company that started in Germany in 2019 Swapfiets is now testing in Berlin also electric scooters and wants to expand into other countries. “There are different distances in the city for which people use different offers”said Managing Director Marc van Pappelendam of the German Press Agency. “There are e-scooters for short distances and bicycles for longer distances. And if you want to go even further, you can use an e-moped.”
While the company already offers scooters on a subscription basis, the electric mopeds have not yet been an integral part of the platform. The rental has been tested in Berlin for a few days. As with the Swapfiets core business, bicycles, the vehicles are only available with a subscription. For a monthly fee, customers can use them as if they were their own. If something breaks, Swapfiets either repairs on site or exchanges the vehicles.
The Dutch company started in Germany in the spring of last year. It now offers its bicycles with the blue front tire in 29 German cities – and occupies a niche with the rental model. Companies like Deutsche Bahn or Nextbike use their bicycles to make short-term trips to the train station, for example. These bikes are opened and locked using the app and are usually parked at fixed stations. To do this, they often work closely with the municipalities.
Target group Students and young professionals
“Our target group primarily consisted of students who wanted to have their own bike in a new city”says van Pappelendam. In the meantime, the focus is increasingly on young professionals who often work in different cities. The average rental period for the bikes is about half a year. 50,000 people use the service in this country.
One advantage for swapfiets: the fact that the users have the bicycles and e-scooters for a certain period of time does not require the approval of the municipalities for installation in the public area. At the same time, the company wants to deal with the problem of vehicles standing around and blocking sidewalks.
So far the service is available in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Belgium. Swapfiets recently announced plans to expand to London, Paris and Milan.