- Title: Paris commuters jump on scooters as transport strikes block metro
- Date: 19th December 2019
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (DECEMBER 18, 2019) (REUTERS) PEOPLE SCOOTERING ON A BIKE PATH VARIOUS OF A MAN RIDING ELECTRIC SCOOTER ON THE CHAMPS ELYSEES PARKED ELECTRIC SCOOTER VARIOUS OF BIRD FRANCE MANAGER, DRISS IBENMANSOUR AT WORK (SOUNDBITE) (French) BIRD FRANCE MANAGER, DRISS IBENMANSOUR, SAYING: "Since the start of the crisis we've had a 500 percent increase in new users because people need to travel, and we represent a real alternative to cars and today to public transport. People use our service to to go and come back from work. We saw that people are riding scooters to travel a longer time. A trip usually lasts between 10 and 12 minutes, now it is five minutes more. Because people are now using scooters to do their entire trip." BIRD FRANCE MANAGER, DRISS IBENMANSOUR (SOUNDBITE) (French) BIRD FRANCE MANAGER, DRISS IBENMANSOUR, SAYING: "The last ten days of strike our turnover was higher compared to the same period last month." BIRD FRANCE MANAGER, DRISS IBENMANSOUR LEAVING HIS OFFICE TWO BIRD WORKERS IN CHARGE OF PARKING MOVING SCOOTERS TWO BIRD WORKERS WORKERS STOOPING BY WORKER UNLOCKING A SCOOTER VARIOUS EMPLOYEE PARKING SCOOTER EMPLOYEES RIDING EMPLOYEE PUTTING SCOOTERS AT THE RIGHT PLACE (SOUNDBITE) (French) 24-YEARS-OLD BIRD EMPLOYEE, AMOS THIERRY BAHEL, SAYING: "The difference is that their are more rides. It means that there are more scooters with flat batteries and others that we have to park in more suitable places. These are the only changes I could notice and I think there are more people riding scooters during the strike." PEOPLE ON A SCOOTER (SOUNDBITE) (French) 21-YEAR-OLD SCOOTER USER, KANTO ANDRIANALITIAINA, SAYING: "There is no subway and metro soâ€¦ Either I go walking, scootering, biking or driving by car. By going by car takes time. So I think with scooter we are not tired and yes we go fast." (SOUNDBITE) (French) 21-YEARS-OLD SCOOTER RIDER, ALEXANDRE MONSARRAT, SAYING: "Totally, for example to go back home by car it takes me one hour and now it will last around fifteen minutes with electric scooters soâ€¦. Indeed, we have everything to earn in using them." (SOUNDBITE) (French) 27 YEAR-OLD, SCOOTER OWNER, ORIANNE DENOT, SAYING: "Yes it is more practical (to have its own scooter) rather than to rent it. We don't know always where to find one and it is cheaper to have its own scooter." (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARISIAN, JEAN YVES GREAU, SAYING: "I am not totally in favour of scooters if we consider their environmental impact. I think there are more often thrown in landfills at the end. Their life-span is limited in Parisians streets so I prefer to walk." FEET SCOOTER PARKING
- Embargoed: 2nd January 2020 17:11
- Keywords: French capital Paris bird dott lime scooters
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAN7C5J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Electric scooter rental companies in Paris have seen a flood of new customers as a strike against the government's pension reform plans has crippled metro, bus and train networks.
With most metro lines closed for the past two weeks and suburban trains operating at reduced capacity, commuters in Paris have had to find other ways to get to work - walking, cycling, driving and using the electric scooters that have appeared in the city in the past two years.
"Since the beginning of the crisis our users increased by 500% because people need to travel, and we represent a real alternative to cars and today to public transport," Bird France manager Driss Ibenmansour said.
He added that while before the strike people would typically use Bird's scooters for the last mile between the subway station and work or home, they now use the scooters - called "trotinettes" in French - for the entire route.
A string of mainly foreign-owned companies including California-based market leaders Lime and Bird - operate some 15,000 electric scooters in Paris and have become a popular transport option for both locals and tourists.
"There is no subway so either I walk, take a scoot, cycle or drive. But going by car takes time, and with a scooter we don't get tired," said 21-year old scooter user Kanto Andrianalitiaina said.
Fellow scooter user Alexandre Monsarrat said it took him just 15 minutes to get home from work by scooter, compared to an hour by car in the heavy traffic jams sparked by the strikes.
Lime said in a statement last week that the number of trips per day had gone up by 90% during the strike and that between Dec. 5 and 13 it had seen a 530% increase in average new users and that it had signed up 64,000 new customers over the period.
Scooter operator Dott, which has 3,200 scooters in Paris, said new user numbers had risen tenfold during the strike.
Some commuters say that with rates of one euro to unlock a scooter and around 20 cents per minute to ride, scooter rentals can get expensive for everyday use over long distances, and some have bought their own.
"It is more practical to have your own scooter. It is cheaper and you always know where to find it," said Orianne Denot.
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