After your first month of using ride-share e-scooters you’re a changed person. You get to sleep in, even if just a few more minutes, since you can now get from the parking garage to your office in a fraction of the time. Your new-found electrified mobility has quadrupled your lunch time takeout options and ironically, replacing walking with zooming on two wheels has encouraged you to make the trip down the street to the gym after work more often.
You even tried taking the train into the city a couple of times, although it wasn’t fun being one of twenty people all hurriedly walking towards the six scooters waiting for riders just off the platform. The mornings you scored a scooter were perfect however.
The downside – every time you kick off on a scooter, it’s a buck just for that first kick and then another 15 to 20 cents for every minute of riding. You love the new electrified-you, but you’re beginning to wonder if there’s a more affordable route to e-mobility and if your lifelong aversion to sharing might be well founded.
Life On 2 Wheels
If you’re using ride-share e-scooters on a regular basis, chances are you work and/or live in a downtown area. Let’s say you’re commuting in, parking and then grabbing a scooter. If you owned your scooter, you would park your car, whip it out of the trunk and be on your way. Get to the office, put it under your desk after plugging it in and it would be all ready to go at lunch time or after work. You don’t have to worry about a shared scooter being available and conveniently located or if waiting for your 16-ounce oat milk triple-shot latte is going to cost you an extra buck or so on top of the price of the drink while your scooter sits idle. Use that money to tip your barista.
What if you want to take the train or the bus into the city, but don’t want to compete in the Spartan Race from the platform to the sidewalk to get a scooter before your fellow passengers? Most city mass transit authorities will allow you to bring an electric folding scooter with you. I would encourage you to check with your local system before making a purchase. So you can roll out your front door to the train station, and then zip by the scooter-scrum at the train station on your way to work.
If you live downtown close to work and are taking a ride-share scooter every day, then buying your own could be an even better idea. Living in an urban center, a scooter with anywhere from a 12 to 40-mile range could be your main form of transportation. You may be able to not only get rid of your shared scooter bill, but you might even drastically reduce the money you’re spending on ride-hails like Lyft and Uber. Buying a scooter is looking like a better deal already.
Do The Math
A huge variety of e-scooters exists on the market today. Generally speaking, spending more money gets: more speed, more range and more features. A quality scooter can fall in the price range of 300 dollars to almost 2,000 if you want top of the line. If you want something similar to what you would rent from one of the major ride-share companies, plan on spending around 500 dollars. That sounds like a big investment up front, but how quick do you get there renting?
Every time you scan a scooter, it costs one dollar. Even if you just use a scooter for to and from lunch, you’re looking at two bucks. That’s assuming you take it to lunch, scan out and find another to get back to the office. If you’re getting takeout, you might be better off not scanning out and paying for the idle time. Assume you ride five minutes to lunch at 20 cents a minute, that’s another dollar and another for the return ride. If you got takeout and waited five minutes, that’s a buck again. So, at a conservative minimum you are looking at four dollars per day, which twenty dollars a week. You would have that Lime-like scooter paid for in just under half a year.