With cities, states, and elected officials trying to promote COVID-19 safety guidelines during the pandemic, identifying innovative ways to get people safely and efficiently to essential services and offer opportunities to get outside for exercise is an important topic of discussion. To dig into this deeper, Lyft has looked into their utilization patterns to understand the role of micromobility during these times. This article, written by a Lyft employee, gleans useful information to be applied to broader micromobility usage.
In general, Lyft found that micromobility ridership time and destination has shifted since COVID with reduced ride activity during traditional morning commute hours with far more likely to occur between 12pm to 7pm. Most notably, Lyft found an increase in the relative share of trips to and from hospitals since March which Lyft believes to be indicative of critical workers increasing dependency on bikeshare and scooters to get around. Because of this, Lyft launched its LyftUp Critical Workforce Program that has provided roughly 350,000 free rides for essential workers throughout the pandemic. Additionally, Lyft found that trip length and trip purpose have changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; micromobility trips are noticeably longer, specifically with a greater percentage of trips lasting longer than 2 km since March in length which they believe to be due to substituting shorter trips for walking, turning to more socially distant transportation options for longer trips, and an increased use of micromobility for recreational purposes. Lastly, Lyft studied the number of San Francisco’s Bay Wheels bike share that started and ended within 100m of a transit stop on the same route and Los Angeles’ scootershare trips that started and ended within 100m of a bus stop and found notable increases compared to ridership levels pre-COVID-19, potentially indicating a shift to micromobility to fill gaps in transit service.