For the consumer, it’s beautifully simple—rent a bike or scooter for as little as a dollar using a free app on your phone, pick it up at one of the numerous locations across your city, and drop it anywhere when you’re done.
Welcome to the era of dockless, urban transportation, the latest iteration of the sharing economy. Rather than shoulder the cost of car ownership, or sit in an Uber or Lyft on increasingly congested streets, some urban commuters instead opt to get around using such startups as Lime, Bird, or GoBike.
The scope of the trend goes beyond scooters and bikes and includes motorized skateboards, e-unicycles, and electric tricycles. This marks a shift from the pricier and less-flexible docked systems which had previously been the standard in many U.S. cities. The non-electric, kick-scooter wing of the industry is also seeing growth.
The dockless movement has much promise, and provides many amenities to city-dwellers and tourists:
While users rejoice at having a scooter or bike around every corner, it can be a little more complicated for cities and towns. Initially, entrepreneurs dropped these bikes where they pleased around a city and let customers come to them. But this has led to a number of concerns:
Several South Florida municipalities such as Miami, Coral Gables, and Fort Lauderdale are working with dockless providers to address these issues and ensure safe travel conditions for all.
Investors and landlords alike see potential in the dockless transportation boom. It makes their buildings more accessible and welcoming, particularly when they’re perceived as a bit off the path from public transit.
And for residents who are elderly, have young children, or physical disabilities, bike or scooter-sharing can be a great alternative to driving or walking. Many scooters in particular are light-weight enough that a tenant or worker can bring them from work to home, even if that commute includes a ride on the subway or a bus.
CRE investors and managers considering adding shared transportation to their offerings should have a multi-faceted strategy:
Proactive CRE investors will see the value of the dockless trend and, in doing so, provide access to their properties for a wide variety of new potential owners and renters. Considering the dueling statistics that the population of Americans age 65 and older is expected to double by 2030 and that a fifth of Americans are under 18, this proposition seems to be a win for attracting both ends of the age spectrum.
Morris Southeast Group keeps an eye on trends in South Florida and beyond that can impact commercial real estate investment and property management. For a free consultation on our commercial real estate investment or property management services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.