This month on our shared mobility by region series, we are looking at the current offerings in the shared mobility market in France.
Every year the Autonomy: The Urban Mobility Summit – the international event for sustainable mobility solutions takes place in Paris where world’s leading mobility makers meet with innovators, policy makers and new players in the industry. Over the course of the event, topics such as active mobility, electrification, autonomous vehicles, data and connectivity and shared mobility solutions are covered.
In this article, we will talk about the current shared mobility offerings available across the region, how micro mobility (particularly e-scooters) has ‘blown up’ and briefly discuss the support France has shown in the autonomous technology sector and current Mobility-as-a-Service solutions within the region.
To read more articles in our Shared Mobility By Region series, click here.
Shared Mobility by Region: France
Car Share Market in France
Car sharing schemes have become increasingly popular on an international level including countries such as Switzerland and the Netherlands, and have been since the late 1980s. Very little carshare activity occurred in France until relatively recently. 2007 has been the most important year so far with more than nine schemes established. Most of these operate between ten and thirty vehicles, while the more established schemes in Strasbourg, Paris and La Rochelle have more than fifty vehicles.
It has been noted that there has been a cooling off period in France with regards to car ownership. According to Rémi Cornubert, an automobile trends analyst at Oliver Wyman.
“The French have opted to spend more on other items such as homes and their upkeep, entertainment and information technology. Car ownership currently accounts for about 14% of average spending and is seen by a growing number of households as a burden.”
BREAKDOWN OF OPERATING CARSHARE PROVIDERS
Citiz LPA is a car share company offering 100 cars, accessible with a badge or the Citiz mobile app and available to book for as little as 15 minutes to a full week.
There are more than 40 stations in Greater Lyon and Villefranche-sur-Saône, with several models available, from city cars to minivans and everything is included in the price, fuel, insurance, maintenance, assistance, etc.
In October 2013, Lyon launcheda service of 100% electric cars, called “Bluely” entirely financed by the Bolloré group. The vehicle used by Bluely is the bluecar, an electric car produced by Batscap and identical to those of the Paris Autolib.’ Different subscriptions are available: monthly (19.90 euros) or year round (99 euros).
City Roul’ is a public car sharing service offering thermal combustion and electric cars available in Rennes that launched in 2002. In 2012, two electric vehicles were added to the fleet and by 2016 the company had successfully installed 14 new stations, bringing this number to 35, and an increase of the fleet from 34 to 50 vehicles.
Through its application and its website, Drivy’s platform offers urban drivers simple and immediate access to a fleet of peer-to-peer, shared, self-service vehicles around them, made available by both private and professional owners. The fleet contains both combustion engine and electric vehicles and is available to users in Paris. Drivy was very recently acquired by Getaround, the peer-to-peer car-sharing startup that launched at TC Disrupt, back in 2011. Combined with Drivy, Getaround now has more than five million users.
Iodines is a dynamic and energy-filled, new Toulouse startup. Created in 2017, it proposes to rent an electric car in Toulouse and the surrounding region. Available for car sharing, the users can rent it freely from 10 minutes to a weekend, without commitment or subscription.
Modulauto is a car-sharing company based in Montpellier France. The user is able to rent a car for several hours or more and pay, based on their time. There are 19 ModulAuto stations in the region and the fleet is mixed with both combustion engine and electric cars.
Moov’in by Renault is a 100% electric, free-floating car share provider that allows the users to park where they want at no cost. Paid parking spaces and spaces reserved for electric vehicles are authorized.
The Wattmobile station of Paris Gare de l’Est is part of a vast program deploying electric vehicles in the main stations of the country. Established in 2014, Wattmobile offers a solution to professionals on their trips, thanks to the rental of small electric vehicles, easy to rent and park – Quadricycle Renault Twizy and scooter Peugeot e-Vivacity.
However, not all car share providers have survived and thrived on the streets of France. Launched in 2011, Autolib’ was an electric, free-floating car sharing service that closed operations on July 31st 2018. It failed to attract as many users as expected and was undercut by competition. The growing popularity of VTCs and car maintenance were major issues for Autolib’ – its fleet had been known to be used by the homeless as shelter at night.
CARPOOLING IN FRANCE
A cheap and eco-friendly alternative to renting a car in France is to carpool with one of the many ride-sharing services that work like Airbnb on wheels.
Bla Bla Car is the most popular peer-to-peer ride-sharing service in France, you simple visit their website and sign up, then pick the front or back seat in a car that is already going to your destination, and you don’t even have to drive!
Last November, Bla Bla Car also took control of company, Ouibus and early this month announced that it will be launched buses from lyon, with the ambition to offer 400 cities-destinations in Europe at “low cost” prices, by the end of the year. Prices will begin a €4.99 and rise depending on demand.
ride hailing market in the FRANCE
The ride hailing market in France, like most European countries has grown in popularity over the last decade, with total revenue amounting to US$732m in 2019 alone and is expected to grow by 8.6% by 2023.
However, its success and growth has not always followed a smooth course. In 2015 French taxi drivers blocked roads to airports and train stations in Paris, as part of a nationwide protest against Uber. Since then tensions between taxi unions and private car services have ran very high. French taxi unions have long held grievances against Uber, and the company’s UberPop service, in particular, which relies on a network of non-professional drivers. Their issue, is that enlisting amateur drivers who don’t have to pay steep licensing fees, gives the San Francisco-based company an unfair competitive advantage over the taxi companies in the region. A one-time taxi license fee in France can cost up to €240,000 ($270,000).
Currently it would appear that ride-hailing giant Uber, has lost an appeal in France lately. Recently a former driver wanted his terms of employment recognised as a fully-fledged work contract. Uber maintains that it is simply a service provider, connecting people needing a ride with drivers, thus their drivers are ‘self-employed.’
The Paris court ruling specified that the contract between Uber and its former driver was “an employment contract” because the driver was dependent for his work on the ride-hailing app. In January of 2018, a law came into effect forcing all ride hailing drivers to be properly licensed, which has constrained the ride share market and a seen a 10% drop in drivers. However, Uber is not the only ride hail service available in the region, a few of its main competitors are;
From 2013 to the beginning of 2017, Heetch grew its market share to 8% (total number of rides taken). But in March 2017, after a trial against French taxi drivers, opposing Heetch, the company was forced to stop its service. However the start-up has been able to bounce back in the every growing and highly competitive French ride share market.
This is due to an expansion of Heetch’s services, such as the 24/7 service. This allowed Heetch to take a bite at the pie of daytime rides (6am-6pm), which accounts for up to 43% of its competitors’ daily volume. Last month, days before Uber went public, Heetch picked up a Series B of $38 million at a valuation estimated at $150 million.
Taxify, now Bolt, is a company that was created by 19 years old Markus Villig (now 25 years old). Taxify was initally present in Eastern European countries, then opened up Tuk Tuk and Bodas Bodas services in Africa. It is currently available in Paris and Lyon and offers a connection to VTC drivers for its users. VTC is a French acronym for private chauffeur services that are not affiliated with taxi companies and can work only from reservations.
Kapten (CHAUFFEUR PRIVE)
Kapten, previously Chauffeur Privé, is the local personal car hiring competitor to Uber (recently acquired by Daimler). The service is available in Paris, Lyon and Cannes as is as popular as Uber with over 18,000 drivers and 2 million customers. The app is user-friendly and the ride experience is better than Uber. The drivers are professional, the cars are great and you can choose your preferred car type.
G7 was the original taxi booking app on the Parisian ride hail scene. With 8,000 drivers at your disposal, it offers the largest taxi fleet as well as pre-booking and personalization options (like English-speaking drivers). In comparison to apps like Uber with driver rating and strict quality control, the average ride quality on G7 is not as good.
micro mobility in france
SHARED ELECTRIC SCOOTERS IN THE FRENCH MARKET
It’s 2019, the streets of Paris are teeming with electric scooters, and a new study is showing just what kind of an impact the global rise of micromobility is having on one of Europe’s most influential cities. An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of 2019.
According to Forbes, in less than three months – from the beginning of Lime’s scooter roll out in the Paris, electric scooters passed from a ‘novelty on the pavement to a mainstream transportation option.’ Currently, the scooter share operators available in France are Bird, Jump (Uber), Taxify’s Bolt, Wind, CityScoot (Paris), KNOT (Strasbourg) Freeway (Nice) and WeTrott (Versailles) which is a scooter sharing service that has installed self-service electric charging stations that can house 15 electric scooters.
A study of more than 1,500 residents of Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region was conducted by Lime and Odoxa this year. The study demonstrated how electric scooters are being used in everyday Parisian life. For example 11% of Parisians report using e-scooters either “frequently” or “from time to time” and 59% of Lime users in Paris reported using electric scooters to at least partially reduce their reliance on personal motorized vehicles.
When asked if they use electric scooters as a compliment to other forms of transportation including bikes, cars, buses, trams and the Paris metro, 85% of Lime riders responded either “yes, frequently” or “yes, sometimes.”
However, as popular as e-scooter sharing may be, particularly in the big cities, in September this year, France will ban electric scooters from pavements in a backlash against a surge of scooters invading pedestrian walkways. Instead, they will have to use the street or dedicated cycling paths.
BIKE SHARING IN FRANCE
The concept of bike sharing can find its origins in France when Michel Crepeau, mayor of La Rochelle in Poitou-Charentes, 1974, introduced a concept that allowed people to borrow distinctive yellow bikes from the waterfront.
The public bike rental concept caught on, and was soon adopted by other cites around the world. Today, it is a lot different from the rental scheme of 1974, most utilize electronic docking stations with touch screens to provide easy access to bikes; credit cards and PIN numbers are used to release the bikes and track usage.
The success of Lyon’s Velo’v bike rental – launched in 2005 – was a watershed moment in France as it was the first big-city scheme to capture the imagination of locals. According to Paul DeMaio of The Bike-sharing Blog, before Lyon introduced its Velo’v scheme, only 1.5% of trips were made in the city by bike; after the scheme was launched (in unison with improved bike infrastruture), bike traffic jumped around 500% with one-quarter of the increase directly credited to bike sharing.
There are many bike successful bike share schemes available across France today, such as Vélam, VéloCité, Vélopop’ and movelo Alsace an electric bike hire service operating from dozens of stations across the region – to name but a few.
However, it’s not all positive news in the bike share French market, last year four dockless bike-share schemes, all run by Asian operators, popped across the city of Paris, offering users the ability to unlock and use dockless bikes.
While initially popular thanks to their novelty and Paris’ popular Velib, suffering problems, some of those schemes ran into trouble, with users unhappy with the quality of the bikes, many of which have been vandalized or thrown in the Seine.
Hong Kong-based, dockless bike-sharing service Gobee shut down in France, last year, after a “mass destruction” of its fleet. Gobee, originally had 2,000 bikes in Paris and claimed around 150,000 users across the country, but 3,400 of the company’s bikes were damaged and more than 1,000 were stolen, which is why the company halted its operations in the region last year.
autonomous vehicles in france
France is known for its progressive attitude towards mobility and the need for new technology in future transportation systems. To support and boost the development of automated driving, the French Ministerial Council introduced a new legislative framework called “Pact” in June last year that allowed the expansion of technical testing and test driving all around the country starting this year.
The French government has a desire to see France lead the autonomous transportation revolution and in order to gain results more rapidly it is supporting emerging projects with €40 million.
Previously, the testing of driverless vehicles has been allowed only in designated areas. The idea is to increase the size of the testing field to gain better understanding about how autonomous vehicles will impact public mobility, safety and the behaviour of other drivers.
Two specialists in the autonomous vehicle market, are French based companies NAVYA and Keolis. Both companies assist cities and private sites around the world by improving their transport offerings with their autonomous, driverless and electric solutions.
Keolis and Navya have been running successful pilot trials of their services in France and other cities around the world. One of the more prominent trials is the service at Paris’ Charles-de-Gaulle airport. Another one is offered in Lyon and Keolis claims that the it was the first autonomous shuttle transport service in the world.
maas schemes AVAILABLE IN FRANCE
Moovizy Saint-Etienne is an app based platform created by Transdev’s Cityway, that aims to inform the user before their journey of transport options, offering real-time multimodal routes, maps and timetables. Also manage on-demand services and shared vehicles, and simplify the purchase of tickets and manage usage and potentially implement incentive policies.
Initially launched as two applications, one for providing information and real-time processing, and the other for making purchases, the new version of Moovizy will be launched in Saint-Etienne in mid-2019.
The Syndicat Mixte des Transports en Commun (SMTC) is the Organizing Authority for Transport of the Territoire de Belfort. As a public institution, it is responsible for organizing and providing public transport service for people. After 2 years of work on their Optymo Phase 2 project, the SMTC, of the city of Belfort, allows it’s residents, the triple play offer (bus, bike and self-service, carshare) which is accessible with a single card, the Optymo Pass.
France has also strongly promoted Intelligent Transportation Service (ITS) projects and development through the French Ministry 2010/11 National Transportation Infrastructure Plan. In France, ITS relating to technologies that allow the optimization of roads including safety, the use of traffic/travel data and technologies linking vehicles, infrastructures and users are of the greatest interest.
Is there another region you’d like to see covered in our Shared Mobility by Region series? We will be sharing one article every month covering a new region, and would love to hear your feedback and input here.
Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and there is no affiliation between movmi and them.