“The sharing providers only litter the streets”


Blue front tires everywhere: Swapfiets has doubled its customer base to 200,000 within 15 months.
Picture: dpa

Companies that offer scooters and bicycles as a subscription model are growing rapidly. You want to take on Nextbike, Lime and Co.

RIchard Burger sits in Amsterdam, his laptop in front of him, a lonely green plant behind him, and blasphemes a bit about the industry that is most likely to compete with his company: bike and scooter sharing. It doesn’t really matter which means of transportation the townspeople should share, Burger is convinced that it won’t work. “These providers only fill up the streets,” says the 28-year-old about the scooters and bicycles that can now be rented for a few hours or minutes at every corner in Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Co. “We’ll do better,” says Burger. The global bicycle boom has put a confident smile on the co-founder of Swapfiets. Between March 2019 and June 2020, the Dutch company doubled its number of customers – from 100,000 to 200,000 regular users.

Whether the Swapfiets concept will work well in the long term remains to be seen, but at least for the moment Burger’s company is at the forefront of a new business model that aims to attract customers from sharing providers and conventional bike shops alike. Swapfiets are among the first to offer bicycles and now also e-scooters, e-bikes and motorized scooters by subscription.

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