Uber-backed scooter startup Lime and European competitors Tier and Dott have won Paris’ competitive e-scooter tender, meaning they will be able to operate 5,000 scooters in the French capital.
The three companies — which were assessed on their environmental responsibility, safety and maintenance skills — beat out 13 others including big US company Bird to win the licence.
The victory will come as a particular relief to Lime because Paris is one of its biggest markets, with more than 22m trips under its belt since launching there in 2018. Lime, which operates in 120 markets around the world, has previously struggled to win over French city authorities such as Bordeaux and Marseille.
It is also a big win for two European companies. Berlin-based Tier, which launched in 2018, already operates in over 60 cities across nine countries and has more than 40,000 scooters deployed. Dott, founded by two Frenchmen Maxim Romain and Henri Moissinac, currently operates over 20,000 e-scooters in 14 cities in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Poland.
Following the win, Moissinac said: “We are excited to continue our efforts to offer Parisians the best micro-mobility services, working closely with local authorities and other permit winners to build a better city.” Dott said that over the next two years it would expand its fleet in the city to 5,000, saying Paris was “widely considered the most attractive e-scooter market worldwide”.
Lawrence Leuschner, the CEO of Tier, said: “Paris has rightly won a reputation as a leading force in the quest for green transport and we are delighted to play our part in helping Parisians get about their beautiful city in a safe and sustainable way.”
Lockdowns across Europe were not great for scooter startups. Usage plummeted as tourists disappeared from city centres, locals stayed in their houses and even workers who were venturing out were concerned about just how hygienic shared transport really is.
Swedish scooter operator Voi shut down operations in all but six of its markets. Berlin-based Tier postponed a launch in Rome, pulled out of Turin and Malaga and scaled back across all markets. US operator Lime stopped services in Europe completely.
But now, as lockdowns relax and cities start moving again, the great bounce back begins. By some measures usage of scooters has risen post-lockdown as people have been reluctant to take public transport.