Scooter Sharing in Barcelona: What You Need to Know and Why You Should Try It

Riding a scooter can brighten up your day, and you don’t even have to own one to be able to enjoy its many benefits. Scooter sharing services like eCooltra are making sure that there is a scooter available for you at any time, wherever you may be. And Barcelona is a city made for scooters. We set out to discover more about how scooter sharing can enhance our lives and make us fall even more in love with Barcelona – while protecting the environment and taking the burden off of roads. With the help of Michael Jessen, Mobile Marketing Manager at eCooltra, we explore the advantages of different scooter sharing services, how eCooltra is maintaining its position as a market leader and how you can make the most of riding a scooter in Barcelona.

 

The landscape of transport and mobility is changing

Barcelona is a wonderfully walkable city, but unfortunately we can’t always allow ourselves the luxury of strolling around at a casual pace. When you need to get from one place to another as quickly as possible, you’ve got a few options to choose from. The horizon is widening and it includes a lot more than the default public transport (there’s nothing more depressing than having to dive underground to ride the metro on a sunny day).

As cities continue to grow in size and heavy traffic is weighing roads down more and more, the landscape of urban mobility is rapidly being redefined. Barcelona is at the forefront of the sharing economy movement: people here are starting to value sustainability and efficiency over ownership. eCooltra users have already saved a total of 494.297 kg of C02 across all of their cities to date.

Thanks to a handful of innovative startups, carsharing and shared parking spaces have made it into the mainstream, and other alternative mobility solutions are also starting to gain momentum. You no longer need to own a vehicle to be able to get around in one. You can rent your neighbor’s car or hail a ride whenever you like. Same with bikes and motorcycles: owning one is no longer a prerequisite if you want to get around on two wheels from time to time. That’s when services like Bicing and scooter sharing enter the picture.

 

Discover Barcelona with ecooltra, the leading electric scooter sharing service in Europe

 

Why Barcelona is the perfect scooter city

eCooltra has the biggest fleet of electric scooters in Europe, with 3,000 two-wheelers in 5 cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Rome and Milan. The company was created in 2016 as a “spinoff” of Cooltra, the European leader in longer-term scooter rentals. You can spot the white scooters with blue and green details cruising around and parking on streets around the city.

Barcelona is made for scooters. The weather conditions are ideal and there’s a big scooter culture. Drivers are used to seeing scooters coming from every direction: they anticipate them and are always aware of them, which makes riding a scooter very safe,” Michael Jessen explains.

Michael, who’s from the Netherlands, had never ridden a scooter before joining eCooltra in 2016 to work on their user acquisition strategy.

“On my first day, my new colleagues told me to hop on a scooter and follow them to the warehouse. I’d never ridden anything two-wheeled in my life, except for a bicycle. And I was in Barcelona, not a small village! But I just tried to copy what all the other scooters were doing and I quickly got the hang of it. Now I’m zigzagging around the city as if I’d been doing it all my life,” he recounts.

Safety is just one of the perks of riding a scooter in Barcelona.

“The location is amazing. You’ve got these incredible views from the hills and you can drive along the beach. What else could you wish for?” says Michael.

 

Owning versus sharing

So, we’ve made the case for scooters. But what about scootering sharing? That is to say, why not just buy your own scooter if you live in Barcelona?

“People think that in Barcelona, everyone has their own scooter. Just like they think that Italians all have their own Vespas. But that’s just a stereotype. And even if it were true, people would still want to ride a scooter to get somewhere and then not have to worry about it on the way back. For example, if they want to go to a party or a festival, they’ll ride a scooter to a friend’s house or a club, and then take the bus or a taxi on the way back. That’s why we don’t see taxis or public transport as competitors. We see them as complementary services,” Michael explains.

eCooltra is not trying to replace other modes of transport, but to complement them in an effort to save time for their 300.000 users.

 

Try eCooltra using the promo code “BCN20” and get the first 20 minutes for free

 

How does scooter sharing work?

One of the biggest advantages of scooter sharing is that it’s door-to-door. Unlike Bicing, there are no pickup or dropoff points. You open the eCooltra app, check the map and reserve the scooter that’s closest to you. Then you have 15 minutes to get to the scooter and unlock it with your phone. It’s really easy and seamless, 4 taps from start to finish. The scooter comes two helmets, one in the back compartment and one under the seat. Batteries are always charged. You just hop on and enjoy the ride, then park your scooter at your destination.

Of course before you can start using eCooltra, you need to sign up. All they need from you is your personal details, a photo of your ID, your driving license and a credit card. Since eCooltras are 50cc scooters, you can use them with a moped license. eCooltra will process your documents within 24 hours – and you’ll get insurance included.

Once you’re on the move, the only thing you have to watch out for is the imaginary “geofence” that marks the zone within which you can park your scooter.

“As an example there’s Gracia. We had it closed until a few months ago because the streets are all single-lane, one way streets, and it was impossible for us to stop there with our electric vans and swap the batteries of scooters parked there. We would have been blocking the traffic. So we had to think of other ways to do the swapping and opening one of the most popular areas of the city. Now we’re doing it with scooters instead of vans,” Michael tells me.

 

Electric scooter sharing in Barcelona – the advantages of scooter sharing

 

Which scooter sharing service to choose?

Then there’s the question of competition. There are a variety of scooter sharing companies out there, and they each have their own appearance.

“When eCooltra started back in March 2016 they were the first scooter sharing service operating in Spain, followed by several competitors right after,” Michael says. “Our biggest advantage is that we have the largest fleet of scooters in Europe, and we’re the ones with the most scooters in Barcelona too. One of our current competitors, Muving is present in more Spanish cities, but they only have a few scooters in each destination”, he says.

Avid users of scooter sharing services usually have multiple apps installed on their mobile devices. They check the availability of scooters nearby and use whichever one is closest. Aggregators such as Free2Move help with finding the quickest way of transport, or the closest available scooter or car, but you do need to have the separate apps installed for booking.

“Density is everything. If you open the map on your phone, the chances that there’s an eCooltra around are much higher than any other scooters. People always use whatever is closest to them. That’s why this year we’re not planning to expand to any other cities except for Milan, where we opened in March. We’re focusing on establishing our position in our cities,” says Michael.

Riding an eCooltra costs 24 cents per minute, but frequently they offer promotion packs that you can buy in advance and get a really good deal.

“People value our scooter availability. Our battery swapping team is working 24/7 to ensure that our fleet is always ready to be used,” Michael concludes.

 

Try eCooltra using the promo code “BCN20” and get the first 20 minutes for free