European micromobility operator Bolt has announced plans to launch distance-based pricing for its e-scooters and e-bikes in Brussels, Belgium.
The move comes as Bolt seeks to find ways to encourage safer e-scooter riding habits, following recommendations from the company’s newly appointed and independent Micromobility Safety Committee, which met for the first time last month at Bolt’s headquarters in Tallinn, Estonia.
The committee, which consists of six mobility experts, welcomed plans to replace the current industry standard of charging per time in Brussels with a distance-based pricing model.
According to Bolt, charging riders for the duration of their trips can incentivise them to reach their destinations as quickly as possible, potentially leading to speeding and other risky riding behaviours such as ignoring traffic lights.
Bolt, which will roll out the new pricing solution in Brussels later this year to all riders, said distance-based pricing aims to ensure riders focus on riding safely.
María Seguí-Gómez, former director general for traffic at the Spanish Interior Ministry and chair of the Micromobility Safety Committee, said: “Charging riders of mobility services based on distance rather than time is an important step to prioritise safety over speed because it eliminates the financial incentive for people to use transport in risky or dangerous ways, in order to reach their destinations as quickly as possible.
“By testing a distance-based pricing system, Bolt can improve our understanding of how an improved incentive structure can positively impact road safety outcomes.”
In addition to launching distance-based pricing, the committee also recommended that Bolt review its data-gathering to better assess the impact of micromobility on vulnerable groups, such as visually impaired people, to understand potential risks and develop solutions to tackle them.
Given that shared scooters and e-bikes are still relatively new solutions, the committee also advised adopting data collection methods and aligning definitions of what constitutes an accident more closely with other transport types.
According to the committee, this will help operators and cities to better understand how micromobility can be implemented as safely as possible.
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