Even as micro-mobility providers struggle to operate during COVID-19 shutdowns, they’re also being offered as transportation options for health care workers and first responders trying to get to work while social distancing.
In Baltimore, Md., Lime is deploying about 50 e-scooters near several downtown hospitals and the Inner Harbor area, offering workers free 30-minute rides to get to and from work. CitiBike has given free subscriptions to essential workers in New York for the same reason, and says it will extend those as long as the pandemic persists. And in Colombia, micro-mobility startup Muvo has offered about 450 e-bikes to healthcare workers at no cost.
All this comes as micro-mobility companies eye bankruptcy, layoffs, and restructuring, pulling their fleets out of cities and hunkering down until the global pandemic’s social distancing regulations subside. Experts say, however, that the move to offer scooters and bikes to health care workers points to a trend of usefulness for the mobility devices, and may point to a brighter future once the crisis passes, particularly as people try to get back to work while maintaining some distance from others.