Solving the first and last mile problem in Switzerland

By Whim • December 30, 2021

The “first and last mile” describes the beginning and end of an individual journey, which is mainly made by public transport. In urban areas, a short walk is often enough to reach the next stop. But outside the city centers, the distances are much longer, and this is a particular problem for commuters and travelers. It is therefore not really surprising that around 2/3 of daily journeys in Switzerland are made by private car.

The car helps to bridge the “first and last mile – problem”, but also creates new problems. On the one hand, parking spaces at bus stops are severely limited, and on the other hand, every kilometer not driven helps in the fight against climate change. Not to mention the hours spent in traffic jams in many places. So how do you get from A to B in Switzerland in an easy and environmentally friendly way? The answer is micro mobility.

The key to sustainable mobility

If you want to travel by public transport but still be flexible, you can’t avoid micro mobility. It describes the area of mobility that specializes in bridging distances of less than 5 kilometers. Especially in cities and their surrounding areas, bike- and scooter-sharing-companies have long been established. They shape the modern cityscape and promise a seamless transition from the last stop to the front door. In combination with Switzerland’s dense public transport network, the advantages are obvious.

  • Better quality of life: In most European cities, around 50% of the total space is used for roads and parking lots. Fewer cars on the streets means much more space for new green areas and the expansion of cycle paths. The cityscape becomes more open, greener and overall, more liveable. Air pollution is reduced in the process, as is the ecological footprint per inhabitants.
  • More efficient use of resources: Micro mobility is a much more efficient way to travel short distances. A petrol-driven car can travel a maximum of 1.3 kilometers with one kilowatt-hour of energy. One kilowatt-hour of energy, on the other hand, is enough to cover 130 kilometers with an average e-scooter! The e–scooter is even significantly more efficient than an electric car. Micro mobility options thus offer enormous efficiency in terms of energy consumption and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Lower costs: According to the TCS, the cost per kilometer driven for a medium-sized car is 71 Rappen. In comparison, the rental prices for the e-scooters of the leading providers TIER and Voe are 39 and 40 Rappen respectively. In addition, there is an activation fee of CHF 1. So, the longer the journey, the more the ratio tips in favor of the e-scooters. E-velos are even more cost-efficient for longer journeys.
  • Better for the local economy: Studies in several European cities have shown that greater use of micro mobility also benefits local traders. Whereas with a car you first have to look for a parking space and often have to pay for it, with an e-scooter or bike you can stop by quickly and also reach smaller shops more easily.
  • Convenient transport: The combination of public transport and micro mobility offers at least as much flexibility as owning your own car without the risk of traffic jams and the hassle of looking for a parking space. Of course, the tendency in bad weather is still towards the car, but away from that, micro mobility is the answer to the urban mobility of the future.

3 myths of micromobility

Despite the numerous advantages for everyday passenger transport, e-scooters in particular are often viewed skeptically. So that the future of urban mobility is not thwarted by urban myths, we have collected some facts.

Myth 1: e-scooters clog up streets and pavements.

The lack of public parking spaces is not an e-scooter problem. Public pavements are traditionally used as parking areas for two-wheelers, and the number of parked two-wheelers continues to increase. But now imagine that for every e-scooter, one parking car would vanish. The space gain would be enormous, because on average 95 % of all cars are standing around unused, with each car taking up ten times more space than an e-scooter.

Myth 2: The production of e-scooter is harmful to the environment.

First of all, it must be stated that the production of cars certainly consumes far more resources and causes way more emissions. But the production of e-scooters by major suppliers such as TIER and Voi is not only more environmentally friendly, but climate-neutral. Replaceable batteries are making a huge contribution to the eco-balance and significantly increase the lifespan of e-scooters. Another important action is the use of 100% green electricity for the entire manufacturing process.

Myth 3: e-scooters do not replace car journeys at all.

The most recent study taken by the provider TIER came to the conclusion that approx. 17.3 % of all journeys with e-scooters replace an originally planned car journey. In cities like Berlin, the share is as high as 22 %. Thus, every sixth trip already replaces a car trip, and this value will increase in the future due to the immense population growth in the cities.

E-scooters are clearly a sustainable option in the urban transport mix and can contribute to the decarbonization of urban transport by replacing the car and complementing public transport networks. The International Transport Forum (ITF) predicts that micromobility together with shared and active mobility will account for almost 60% of urban transport by 2050. What is needed today to make this more sustainable city happen? A massive expansion of cycle path networks will be just as necessary as the provision of a simple and efficient ticketing system. MaaS apps like Whim are specialized in these services.

Simply better connected

Micro mobility takes public transport to the next level and helps you cover the first and last mile in a more pleasant, efficient, and environmentally friendly way. To ensure that you can make the most of all the services on offer at any time, we have developed Whim, an app that makes all routes and services accessible immediately. Here you can plan your daily routes perfectly and book all the necessary tickets for public transport, e-scooters and much more.

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