The effects of COVID-19 on a worldwide scale have been very huge, and have made a significant impact on the day to day lives of individuals.
From changes in the regular routines to protocols to be followed for safely going out, COVID-19 has changed the very way of life of everyone across the globe.
How one moves from point A to point B has been one of the most drastic changes that have happened due to this pandemic.
Since March, India has seen a rapid evolution in the mobility solutions that have grown in something else entirely.
Urban commute after COVID-19 has seen such a huge turn since the pandemic started, that it has evolved into a new beast.
Reliable transportation options which are now not just alternatives, but have become the main way have established themselves as the primary go-to option for people.
These options include renting bicycles and electric scooters, along with renting bikes and cars too.
The efforts in reducing the pollution and the mass use of electric vehicles has gone through the roof, as more people are now aligning themselves with using environmentally friendly transportation options.
E-bike rentals have seen a huge rise in demand, and are continuing to grow in popularity in even smaller cities now. The unique opportunity provided by the COVID-19 pandemic for overhauling urban mobility has been staggering.
But, are these changes here to stay? How is the rise in the demand for bike rentals helpful? Let’s find out.
How are Cities Evolving in Their Urban Mobility Solutions?
Due to the social distancing and lockdown measures, urban mobility solutions in big cities are sweeping across multiple areas.
Urban residents are mostly confined to their homes and have a very limited time to go out for running errands or commuting. People have started exploring their nearby surroundings instead of going on long drives.
Walkable neighbourhoods, compact designs for societies, and much more have become popular options for city developers.
With this development, e-bike rentals and rentals for cycles have gone through the roof. People are renting these environment-friendly options for their daily commutes of short distances, or just exploring their immediate surroundings for their “outside time”.
Moreover, with remote working becoming the new normal now, traffic congestion in urban cities has seen a huge decline, which has reduced a lot of stress from public transportation.
Following the safety precautions has become the primary concern for every individual, which is why bike rentals have become the new way of commuting for people.
Bike rental service providers like ONN Bikes have been growing rapidly, and the service has become very accessible across all the big cities for people.
With various mobile applications that help the users in finding the nearest e-bike for rent or two-wheeler for rent, the need for owning a vehicle has gone down.
People have realized that they can just rent out a vehicle when they need it, rather than owning one which they would have to maintain and keep with them at all times.
Thanks to the advancement in environment-friendly technology, e-bikes and e-scooters have not only become more accessible, but also cheaper for people to rent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for urban areas in impacting their mobility and has encouraged these areas to be more adapting to new and greener mobility solutions.
Where we started and where we are right now
When the pandemic started, monthly bike rental service providers took a huge hit, as the demand for rental bikes went to almost zero. However, as the Indian government started to ease the lockdown, the demand started going back up.
It was noted that a whole new segment of customers opened up for bike rentals. Food delivery operators and healthcare professionals started to actively rent bikes every month or longer.
This was because of how safe, convenient, and easy to maintain option this was.
However, it is the e-bike rental segment that saw the biggest rise in demand. Commuter interest in e-bike rentals has seen a colossal increase in demand, as it is a cheaper and accessible option for any type of commutes.
For instance, Yulu, an electric bike rental service provider has never seen the demand for its products as much as it does now. Until February, Yulu had around 3,000 electric bikes in Bangalore, but due to the huge rise in the user demand, they have now scaled that number to an amassing 7,500 electric bikes in just Bangalore!
One other effect that has come out of the pandemic has been the period of rental on bikes. Although rental service providers used to have the options for hourly rentals, they have now done away with this approach.
12-hours to 24-hours rentals have become the main service, as it makes it easier for the service providers to sanitize the vehicles properly before handing it to the other customers.
One other step taken by the service providers has been that they have minimalized providing helmets to the users, given that it can be a source of spreading.
Users anyways prefer to have their helmets with them to be safer now, which has become a win-win situation for both the parties.
The cost and quality of e-bike rentals have been nothing short of brilliant in India, and the demand for it shows no sign of slowing down.
People have also realized the true need for greener mobility options for commuting, and this will become the new norm after the pandemic passes.
Urban mobility has already seen a huge change due to COVID-19, but there is more to come in the future.
Moreover, the urban population has adapted to mobility solutions like e-bike rentals and have started to prefer it more to the more traditional mobility options like public transport. Is this change here to stay?
Only time will tell. However, it is safe to assume that the rise in the demand for bike rentals will only go up, as people have realized that it is the best option for commuting to places.