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Whizzing around in Brussels: the shared e-scooter

© Sanne Moonemans

A new trend has emerged in Brussels – and the rest of Belgium – in the form of an e-scooter sharing system. Three companies offer this service, and using it appears to be quite simple: you download the app, find a scooter and off you go. But is that really all there is to it?

This summer a new type of shared means of transportation arrived in Brussels: the e-scooter. In June, Brussels’ start-up Troty opened its doors, and not too long after, in September, an American company called Bird followed. And proving that the e-scooters are a success, Californian start-up Lime too opened up shop in Brussels on 16th November.

© Sofie Verdonck

Similarities and differences
There are similarities between all companies, but there are several differences too.

  • Brussels

As mentioned before, a big – and obvious – similarity between the companies is that they’re all operational in Brussels. The companies have different amounts of scooters, ranging from Troty’s 60 – 35 during winter – scooters, to Lime’s 500.

  • Fees

All companies ask for a starting cost of 1 euro, and then ask 15 cents per minute. However, for longer periods of time Troty offers discounts: 6.5 euros an hour – instead of 9 euros – and 39 euros a day. For Bird and Lime there is no mention of such discounts.

  • Availability

The e-scooters of these companies are only available by day. Bird offers e-scooters between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., and Lime keeps them available from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Troty on the other hand only starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. At night the scooters are collected by employees, who stall them overnight and charge them. In the morning, when they are all charged, the scooters are redistributed over the city.

  • Speed

Though they’re all electric scooters, the maximum speed at which they can go is different. Troty scooters can ride up to 25 km/h, and Lime scooters up to 24 km/h. Their Bird equivalents can only reach up to 18 km/h. Of course the users have to adapt to their surroundings and the traffic, so this difference in top speed is probably not really of any importance.

  • User qualifications

To ride an e-scooter you have to meet some conditions. Riders must be over 18 years old, and in possession of a valid licence. Of course you also need a smartphone that is compatible with the app software and a credit card. Troty also requires you to present a national identity card or a valid passport.

Not only their services, but the companies’ apps too look rather similar.

Before you get going
The companies ask their users to bring a helmet for safety, and to ride in bike lanes, not on sidewalks. They also trust the users to be responsible when parking: don’t leave the scooter lying around, because people might fall over them, and it just isn’t nice having to dodge scooters as you are walking.

If you want to find out more about how it feels to ride an e-scooter, go to Business Insider for a thorough review.

 

This article was first published on Brussels Express.

 

Text: Sofie Verdonck, pictures: © Sanne Moonemans, Sofie Verdonck