Making Passenger

Ep 5 - The Gateway Drug to Sustainable Transport

May 23, 2020 Passenger Season 1 Episode 5
Making Passenger
Ep 5 - The Gateway Drug to Sustainable Transport
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Making Passenger
Ep 5 - The Gateway Drug to Sustainable Transport
May 23, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Passenger

Passenger's Matt and Tom talk to Phil Ellis, co-founder of bike-share company Beryl.

From the smallest of bays to the biggest of sustainable shared electric micro-mobility system plans, they all agree that bike-share schemes are exactly what the UK need to break their car habits. Beryl, who work closely with local authorities, are hopeful that change is on the horizon and are on the cusp of launching #BetterByBike - with the objective of lowering the barrier to cycling and encouraging the wider public to go by bike where possible.

Beryl's NHS initiative continues through to the end of June - details here


Show Notes Transcript

Passenger's Matt and Tom talk to Phil Ellis, co-founder of bike-share company Beryl.

From the smallest of bays to the biggest of sustainable shared electric micro-mobility system plans, they all agree that bike-share schemes are exactly what the UK need to break their car habits. Beryl, who work closely with local authorities, are hopeful that change is on the horizon and are on the cusp of launching #BetterByBike - with the objective of lowering the barrier to cycling and encouraging the wider public to go by bike where possible.

Beryl's NHS initiative continues through to the end of June - details here


Matt :

Hello and welcome to the Making Passenger podcast. I'm Matt

Tom :

and I'm Tom.

Matt :

This week we are sitting down with Phil Ellis, CEO and co founder of Beryl. in 2019 Beryl launched the innovative Bike Share systems and delivery services to towns and cities across the UK. Most importantly to us at least that also includes Bournemouth.

Tom :

Phil helped lead Beryl to become a global product and technology company supplying retail and Bike Share systems. Here at Passenger, we've been lucky enough to work alongside them for at least a little part of that journey.

Matt :

I hope you enjoy! Hi, Phil, thank you very much for joining us today. I appreciate you taking the time.

Phil :

Thank you.

Matt :

Let's start at the beginning. How do you know Tom How do you know passenger because we've done a little bit of work together. But how did how did that come about? What's your first and earliest memory of Tom?

Phil :

Haha, good Question! I do actually know this. I first spoke to Tom at the Public Health and Sustainable Cities conference in Bristol, probably just over a year ago. So we had just launched our bike share system in Bournemouth, which was our first big bike share system. And obviously, we were sort of new to the area and new to the local authority. And so yeah, really good. We knew of Tom and we'd knew of Passenger, our customers at the BCP council had, you know, told us with great admiration about Passenger. And so yeah, that's why we, I was pleased to meet Tom and start figuring out how we can push things forward in Bournemouth a little bit in this in this sort of World of Mobility.

Tom :

So it's actually quite interesting because we went to that conference on the basis that we were starting to realise that public transport had this natural overlap with with kind of active travel, and this was a term I was starting to kind of get my head around. Yeah. a year or so ago, it was this kind of idea of walking to a bus stop. And then sort of getting on the bus and then walking to your destination and all these kinds of, you know, the interplays between the modes. So we were just like, well, let's go along to this sustainable health, Public Health and Sustainable Transport event. And we were surrounded by brilliant organisations like Beryl, who were kind of, you know, promoting their their bike share. And as Phil says, that's exactly how we started to talk and then kind of, you know, obviously, start to think about how that kind of last mile might come into play with with bikes as well as walking.

Phil :

Exactly.

Matt :

They were Tom, you already might not remember you. Right. So before I get into anything else, I really want to understand like you guys have been in some really great stuff to enable NHS and other key key workers to get around using your infrastructure. And it would be remiss not to start there, you know, what are you guys able to do and how fast were you able to react and get information out and also what sort of uptake are you seeing? Anyone using them or.. ?

Phil :

I've got some stats somewhere but yeah,

Matt :

Oh we love stats!

Phil :

So what we were able to do is really, really quickly, I think we were definitely were the first sort of bike share company, certainly in this country, potentially further afield to Yeah, basically turn our system into something that can be used more easily by NHS, members of staff. So because it's all our, it's all built on our technology. So we control everything that runs the bike share systems, that includes the app and all of the back end and the payment gateways and everything like that. And we for a while, have offered our bike share system as a sort of corporate membership to different organisations. And so it was very, very simple for an organisation who might want to buy a membership for people who work in that company. So for example, you just use @ you know, passengerapp.com or whatever your URL is, and anybody who has that has that email address gets on a whitelist and they get to use the bike share system for free. So in Bournemouth and Poole, what we're able to do is just blanket, if you have an @nhs.uk email address, sign up to the app, put your email address in will automatically be able to identify if that is a valid NHS email address. And then you just use the bike share system for free. And it literally it took, you know, very little time on our site to be able to do that. But you know, what was really, really good about this is the nature of the scheme. And the nature of our involvement with the local authority means actually, you know, have to be the local authority have actually funded it. So every time somebody is using that bike, it's actually the local authority, who are paying for that journey to happen. And we've done everything to maintain it, and to enable it. And obviously, we've changed some of our operating models to make sure there's always a good supply at the hospitals and things like that. And now we've been able to do a few more extra little things actually. So yesterday, We launched a bay, a brand new geofenced bay outside of a GP practice somewhere in Bournemouth and that basically came through because a GP centres I think it was even a tweet and said, I use these bikes for home visits. But there isn't a bay near the surgery, can you put one in and our team were able to get a bay in on the ground, put some signage in on the ground. In the back end, we were able to set up that geofenced area and have a fully serviceable bay open to the public, but also they're serving that GPS practice, like within, like less than 24 hours.

Matt :

Wow.

Phil :

So yeah, we've been able to do that stuff quite quickly by virtue of the control that we have over the system.

Matt :

Yeah, that's fantastic. So you already had some of that functionality. So it was quite quick and easy to roll out. Exactly.

Tom :

So Phil, those bays are pretty lightweight bays arent they?

Phil :

Yeah, yes. All of the bays that we have in Bournemouth, yeah, very light touch. So the minimum that are all of our bike share systems and ebike systems and whatever else systems comes next are built around bays. So we don't do like free floating - people have to park their bike in a bay, but we always want to do ... And that's enforced by geofencing so the bike knows where it is all the time. And if you've finished the journey in the bay, great, if you've finished your journey outside of the bay, we charge a small convenience fee. And that's fine, because some people want that convenience and indeed, some local authorities want people to have that convenience. But we always have some level of physical intervention on the ground, right and so in Bournemouth and Poole, that is at its sort of lowest level, which is paint on the ground. So you'll see green squares painted onto the ground, that are geofenced but that physical intervention provides a visual clue. So people in real time know where to park the bike. And there's also some signage, you know, like a bike sign that says this is where you want to park your bike. You know that sounds very straightforward. Obviously, there's a lot of process. Ordinarily, that is involved in, like pinpointing all of those bikes and making sure they're in the right location. But being able to do it by geo fencing and actually have it enforceable as in actually have it, that you can encourage those behaviours by doing little convenience fee means that people are parking in those bays, and it means that somewhere like Bournemouth, and Poole, we've got, I think, something like 220 bays across that conurbation and a service area, that is, I'm not sure exactly, but it's probably like 40 square miles, something like that. And we're able to get that sort of coverage because, yeah, the bays are so light touch, but nonetheless do everything they need to to control where people are parking. So in terms of babies, that Bike Share system is is. Well, actually, to be fair, that bike share system is now the biggest Bike Share system in the country outside of London. But in terms of bays, it's the biggest by, you know, a long, long way. And bays are really important. The density of where you're, you can pick up and drop off these bikes from is so important. And so to have a network where there's like three or four bikes in every bay, or five or six bikes, in every bay, if you can get 220 bays like that, you get better ridership than if you had, you know, 50 bays of 20 bikes. And so that yeah, that's what's important about the data. And that's, that's how we've been able to do it in Bournemouth.

Tom :

So, I mean, in terms of how you sort of position a bay, I mean, you said, you talked about how you you've managed to place one outside of a GP surgery really quickly. That's brilliant in terms of being able to be responsive to needs. Do you guys have any criteria as to kind of how close that bay needs to be to other infrastructure, things like bus stops or, you know, train train stations, any kind of interchange points, that kind of stuff?

Phil :

Yeah, so we've got a transport planners in our team that design the scheme, they design within that local area, where do the bays go. So it'll start with a load of sort of desktop research, fitting in with a load of criteria. And, you know, we'll start with thousands of locations across somewhere the size of, of Bournemouth and Poole and and then whittle that down, based on a scoring factor for like the propensity for that bay to get used and for the propensity for that data to contribute to the transport outcomes that the local authority might have. So yeah, like a big factor, like a big sort of point scorer is things like proximity to, you know, a bus stop or proximity to a train station or a tube station in London. And then there's lots of other measures like proximity to other amenities - shops, lesiure facilities, things like that, obviously, loads of other things like line of sight, visible, covered by CCTV. You know, there's a whole scoring matrix, I think it's got about 25 different scores. And then each score has a, I think, a one to five metric. So there's a big matrix that gets built up to take loads of locations, whittle them down to what we think is right, in terms of the individual locations, and in terms of the overall density of that scheme. Then we layer on top of that a load of requests that might have been made by the public. So this example of the GP was one where, like, if there's if there's a special request made, and we think we can do it, then we'll do it. And then you've got to consider loads of like safety, hygiene factors. So the area has got to be sort of big enough for the bays but not get in the way of like our number one, on the hierarchy of person moving in a city being the pedestrian, like you've got to not get in the way of pedestrians, and then particularly pedestrians that have special requirements. So you know, we'll do a walkthrough of the bays with local visually impaired charities and things like that and make sure that there's room on the pavement, if it is on a pavement, to make sure wheelchairs can get past and things like that. We'll do a walkthrough with people with white canes to make sure that it's it's visual for them. Like there's so much stuff that goes into street design and like tactile flooring and stuff like that. You can't just like plonk a bay down. So yeah, then we'll once we've done all the research and implement it, we'll implement it carefully. It is worth saying on bays though, like my sort of driving aim with all of this, is basically, yeah, we need to get as many bays as we think is appropriate for the density. But ideally, we also want to get them actually on the carriageway. So I mentioned pavement a few times there, but for us, like we want them in the road and taking up parking spaces basically, that's not always possible for all sorts of reasons and so that flexibility of the bay is, yeah, is important for us getting the density that we need.

Matt :

So that's interesting, just with what's been going on most recently, and it's an interesting point that you've made there about trying to get them on the roads. If we look at what's been announced over the last couple of days, certainly last weekend, and we see that all local authorities but you know, thinking more specifically BCP, so Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole council local to us, have been tasked with putting additional social social distancing measures in place, and physical infrastructure. So that's widening payments, creating additional cycle lanes. And this is supposed to help reduce pressure on public transport, which even you know, when it's running at full capacity is only allowed to carry up to 20% of its usual passenger numbers. And so, you know, as part of all of that stuff has been announced, what do you know about it? How long do you think temporary is and and what sort of infrastructure that is temporary can become permanent, so perhaps some of those spaces that you're talking about?

Phil :

Yeah, so in terms of like the very, you know, technical and sort of regulatory things around that, we'd have to speak to the transport planners in our team, you know, but the thing, the thing that's interesting about the recent announcements is, it's in a very good way like it's put the power in the hands of the local authority. So these journeys that we're enabling are local journeys, you know, yeah, zero to maybe 5,6,7,8 miles, something like that. So like, being as close to the ground as you can be, and figuring out how to enable those is the right way of doing it. So giving the power to local authorities to do it is the right way of doing it. And I think some of the guidance has come out from the DFT is basically, I mean, there's lots of measures but as far as I can make out, it basically says, you can do it now, or you can do it in 18 months, all the normal stuff around consultation still exists, and you still have to do it. But you can sort of do it alongside and obviously you definitely need to do it if you're going to make it permanent and obviously, that's like our, and hopefully, lots of people's big hope that these things become permanent. And that will require further funding. But I think the other thing that's really interesting again, about the bays and about what else might come, the last thing that we, as a bikeshare provider, you know, can allow to happen is that, you know, we create a space for walking and cycling, and then e-scooter trials might be allowed. And the last thing that can happen then is is what we've seen in some of the other American European cities is that that space is sort of used up by a load of scooters that are kind of parked there somewhat haphazardly, not in geofenced bays, not with a supporting ground operation. And suddenly your 10 metre bay is shrunk down to a one metre filter because there's a load of scooters parked haphazardly and then we've got the absolute opposite outcome that we need, which is, you know, a really powerful method of sustainable shared transport, turning public opinion away from from this industry because it's actually sort of eating into this positive space-making activity that's going on right now and going on at pace. So we're really keen to make sure we get that right with our bikes and are ebikes that are launching. And we think we've got we do pretty well with that with our geofencing bays. And we've got to make sure we continue to do that with the next set of things that might come along.

Matt :

Yeah, it sounds like a really interesting challenge. I mean, you've got this very small footprint and that's, you know, possibly one of your big selling points for getting into councils is you know, we're not putting in lots of new street furniture and things like that, but also making it both convenient so that people use these things, but also, you know, expanding the house and stuff.

Phil :

Yeah, it's like our Hereford scheme for example, which is an area where, you know, without this sort of method of operation and this technology, it would be very difficult to make a bike share system in Hereford like viable commercially even with the local authority support that we get. But like we do have that in Hereford but we also like, the service area of that scheme in Hereford, the number of bays that are deployed into Hereford and almost the number of bikes actually makes the Hereford Bike Share scheme something that's not far off the same size as the Glasgow Bike Share scheme. And you know that is able to serve that city so much so much better. You think of the comparative size of someone like Hereford and therefore the number of people that have access to that system compared to the total number of people somewhere like Glasgow have access to that system. So yeah, is is really important. Thinking about these, like the design of our scheme with regard to how you actually going to get people using it, like Bike Share, shared electric scooters, shared electric bikes - one big thing that they also are is a massive sort of gateway drug to more sustainable transport behaviours and like that's brilliant as far as we're concerned, if someone, and we see this happen now, in Bournemouth, we've been operational for nearly a year, and we see it happen loads of times where people use our bikes a few times, and then sort of transition up and buy their own bike. And then they're a cyclist, or their commuter cyclists more regularly, and they use that like, that's, that's great. But if that's gonna happen, the bike share system needs to be like, a really positive thing. It needs to be comfortable, it needs to be serviceable, and it needs to not have loads of people thinking "Oh, this is an annoying thing getting in my way".

Tom :

It's a really interesting point you raise about the differences in the schemes that go into different geographies. And it's something we've absolutely found as a company that's gone into, you know, grown out of, you know, an initial geography in Bournemouth, we've built apps for bus companies here. And we've you know, we've taken that product to different geographies around In the UK. No one is the same everyone talks about a product being the same and mass producible mass and scalable but there are there are nuances to the way that each geography works in order to get the best out of the application within that that that particular community - I'm really interested by that point you raised - in Hereford, I'm , I don't know Hereford well, but I'm presuming it's smaller than Glasgow. So are you able to kind of you know, highlight a couple of the things that might be different in say Glasgow to Hereford?

Phil :

I mean, so Hereford is a town of about 60-70,000 people.

Tom :

Okay

Phil :

Glasgow is probably 10-15 times that size. But in terms of the provision of the bike share system that those towns have, like th Hereford bike share system is not a million miles off the Glasgow Bike Share system and we get like great, great ridership, and we're able to sort of make a noticeable impact actually on a scheme that size in terms of modal shift towards towards cycling, but you're absolutely right they are completely different places like that's potentially where the comparisons end because then you know Glasgow is a complete different ballgame, like an inner city public transport infrastructure is completely different and so you know the reason why it's interesting working with you guys is basically I think there's lots of evidence that says Bike Share systems and why we're interested in working with you guys more and more is because it's actually just driving people on to the public transport as well. So in Hereford that might be a lesser opportunity than other places to drive people onto public transport cos its a smaller place but somewhere like Glasgow or somewhere like Bournemouth, which is bigger, like if we're able to give a really excellent digital experience to somebody who is able to walk or cycle to a bus or a train to complete that journey. Like, we definitely can improve that real world experience with high quality bikes and high quality public transport, and make it more accessible with high quality sort of information and digital experiences like people are going to do that rather than drive it. Now, obviously, that isn't the case everywhere, but you have to have a good public transport system for that to be enabled. And that's what I guess you know, a lot of your other customers in the bus world, like that's how we can sort of segue into that. But you're right, like locally, it's not just automatically going to happen. We're not just going to be able to flip people over from all of their journeys being on car to being on a bike and public transport that you have to have two good things in the first place.

Tom :

But it's interesting idea that a smaller community, perhaps takes more ownership of its Bike Share scheme. I remember seeing some some tweets when there was some flooding. And some photos you guys were sharing about the people of Hereford moving bikes out of the water for you exactly which is completely the opposite of all the stories you hear about kind of inner city Manchester or you know any anywhere where the you know, the bikes are being kind of thrown or vandalised or you know, dumped in canals, actually the people of that community were helping, and that was really inspiring to see.

Phil :

Yeah, that's awesome, isn't it? Yeah, let people for whatever reason, think that bikes are automatically going to end up in a river because people want to pick them up and throw them in there. Like, presumably, you know, it does happen. But in that instance, the exact opposite happened, people wanting to proactively go out their way and help us and move the bikes and, yeah, I mean, I'm sure hopefully, I think, you know, all the bike share systems where we operate, you know, the community. We operate them to a level of sort of quality and we integrate them into the city, to a level whereby people I think, certainly do see them as as a an asset to the town. You guys, you know, would be able to speak to that more than me in Bournemouth and Poole. But I think overall, like people see it as an asset and they see it as a service, which isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion actually with with some of these sort of shared systems. And it's not necessarily all that easy to achieve that straightaway. But it's important that that's what you're aiming for, say that people do use them and respect the system.

Tom :

I think I think you're right about this, this idea of designing stuff in a more considered way. And I think the way you guys have got your your bay system and the convenience fee around that, I think that encourages the community to, you know, respectfully put things back, you know, in a place where others can access it. And I think that just that whole sort of position, that approach you guys have got, you know, sort of reinforces this idea that we want it to be an asset, we want we don't want it to be street litter. Yeah, we don't want we don't want all of the negativity that comes with with it. Yeah. In that way, so I think you've got a really strong proposition.

Phil :

And you know, what's really interesting about the geofencing so like, we design it around, like, the location, and also what the local authority or the Transport Authority think is best. So actually in BCP, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, I think, actually the local authority there would be very happy for us to do a little bit more of the free floating type model. So have a few more journeys and out of bay than currently do whereas other places where we work, like Watford, they don't want any out of Bay, and that's fine. But the thing that's really really interesting is is how price sensitive people are to where they're going to leave the bike. So in Bournemouth and Poole, we charge people a two pound convenience fee if they park their bike out of the bay and we get I think last time I checked is about 82% of journeys finish in a bay. So there's somewhere between 15 and 20% of journeys, people are happy to pay that extra bit of convenience and and park the bike where they want. The number of journeys that that's happening to is is perfectly acceptable from our perspective from the local from the public's perspective, and from the local authorities perspective, like we're not, we don't have bikes where people don't want them really. But the thing is really interesting, in Watford and in Norwich, actually, we charge five pounds if you park your bike outside of a bay..

Matt :

Oh that is a bit steep

Tom :

I was gonna say two pounds as a user feel feels like enough for me to you know, to put it back. Yeah. You know, I know because otherwise I'm starting to think about Well, that was a fairly short journey. If I'm paying two pounds to put that back in and the price, you know the 5p a minute to actually hire the bike in the first place. Maybe we're talking sort of, you know, comparative to a cab.

Phil :

Yeah

Tom :

but you know, it's that kinda...

Phil :

Exactly.

Tom :

Yeah. Five, five pounds. So it seems like

Phil :

You get a behaviour that you and the local authority want. In Watford. And in Norwich, they don't want. They don't want actually people to finish their journey outside their home or outside the pub, even if that's a bit more convenient for that person. They don't want that to happen. And what we see is that that jump from two pounds to five pound. Yeah, you're right, it changes the economics of that as an individual journey. And we see like, it's, it's over 95% it's basically all journeys in Whatford and Norwich are finishing in the bays. And, and the thing that's really interesting to me there then is they start to get into the economics of these journeys and how people are thinking about these journeys. And as we look to introduce our electric bikes, you know, operating models around electric bikes, operating models around electric scooters, the control of the pricing is really interesting. To be able to basically encourage people to park the thing where you want the thing to get parked and It's really, it's sort of, it's night and day, you know, if we didn't charge any convenience fee, they would be everywhere, but up to five pounds, they're pretty much always exactly where the bays are. And if it's two pounds, you know, it's it's not far off. And so in between. So that's, that's like where people are parking their vehicle. And you do the same sort of math, it's like, well, what is my premium? What am I willing to pay extra for an electric bike because I'm going to go further, it's going to be faster. And you know, it's it's a more expensive, more expensive vehicle. So we can, we can definitely charge a little bit more for that for that. But then operationally, as well, maybe we want to charge we want to charge the right amount of that convenience fee, so that people are parking electric bikes, in places where it's easy to serve, and it's easy to charge the battery. So, you know, it would be quite difficult and unsustainable is if an entire city the size of Birmingham or whatever has electric scooters everywhere. Because then what you've got to do as an operator is comb every street within that entire conurbation looking for a scooter at least once a week in order to swap out the battery. That's an incredible amount of operational headache. Whereas if you're doing around bays, it's easier because you've got a certain amount of bays that you need to go to. But then even better, if you can start to differentiate your pricing, so that you might be getting people to park their electric scooter in bays where you have on street charging, or bays where you know, you can very easily do the battery swap out mechanism for charging, then all of a sudden, actually, you're getting far closer to a sustainable shared electric micro mobility system that is operationally sustainable than you know a free floating model that is very difficult to see the economics working. So yeah, the interplay from the bays, the bay design, like getting it set up, working with a local authority getting it right so that people like it and use it. But then using the tools that you have the pricing and the technology to actually make it run in a way that is sustainable and run in a way that people can access, it is an important contribution. The other bit that we want to get right with that is like, we want to, we want to like - our electric bikes people should use if they want to use them, of course, and if anything, you should probably be using them for a journey that is closer to something you'd have been otherwise doing by private car. But if if, but if you're going a short distance, you know you should probably and you're able to and you want to, it's better if you cycle in some ways, like it's better for us because it's a cheaper journey to maintain. It's better for them from a active travel point of view and it also leaves the bikes available for for other people. So you've got to, the same is true of electric cargo bikes at the other end of the spectrum, right? Who knows how much a shared electric cargo bike someone would be willing to pay for to use, no one knows that, but what everyone knows is like the positive externalities, of somebody doing a delivery, on electric cargo bike is massive. Like, if we're able to get somebody to not drive their journey in a car and do it by bike, that's awesome. If we're able to do the same with electric bikes, that's awesome. And there's probably more of those journeys we can convert. In total volume terms, there's less of these journeys where you can take a van off the road and put in a cargo bike. But the impact of being able to do that for every single one of those journeys is massive. Like it's massive because the van is big and heavy, its massive because that logistics operation for last mile is extremely difficult and is it economically an expensive thing for people to do. But the other thing that's really important to me on that one is when a van is delivering its thing you park this three and a half ton thing, half on the pavement half on the road, and someone has to pop out the van and and deliver the stuff and then this honking great big three and a half ton piece of metal that's just in everyone's way for a small amount of time or sometimes a long amount of time. And they that is got to be the sort of thing from a livability point of view, like this is all just like now a utopian world where we don't have like vans delivering stuff but like..

Tom :

This idea of you know replacing these delivery, I mean delivery is probably the biggest one to solve you know not the logistics of people but the logistics of the things, you know that the people want into these urban areas. Yes, I'm really fascinated by the Pedal Me guys I'm following that story with great interest. You know, this is kind of there are delivery guys, they deliver people and they deliver things. And there using these cargo bikes to do it and it is incredible what they're doing right now in terms of some of the sort of getting the supplies around to people that perhaps need them the most at this point in time.

Phil :

Yes. Yes.

Tom :

It's fascinating to see this this stuff unfold.

Phil :

Absolutely. Yeah, no, I use those guys myself. But I mean, even in both Hereford and Norwich, we're using electric cargo bikes and in Bournemouth, actually, and maybe in Watford. I think in all of our schemes, we use electric cargo bikes to redistribute our bikes and move them around. Whether it's our own model we're working with, in Hereford. We work with a company called Petty Cargo who do all of our street maintenance on cargo bikes. Cargo bikes are an amazingly powerful tool and figuring out how we can get more of those going is interesting, interesting part of the mix.

Tom :

It sounds to me I mean, I mean, just to kind of contextualise, we've got standard bikes no batteries in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchuch at the moment. We've got electric bikes, I'm saying we, I mean Beryl have got electric bikes kind of coming on stream in various places potentially down here as well soon. But it sounds to me like you're already thinking about how how kind of cargo bikes might play a role for you guys as well?

Phil :

Yeah, and the full mix, right? Electric scooters, part of the mix, electric cargo bikes, cargo bikes, like they're all things that we can enable and what we want, we have a cargo bike actually deployed already that people can hire through our app in in a closed scheme in London, and we're doing a few more things like that, sort of take that to the next level, which would be an electric cargo bike . To actually propose something like that down in Bournemouth, Poole andChristchurch so that you know that that sort of stuff could be happening. And yeah, that cargo bike stuff is in terms of volume, it's gonna be it's gonna be lower, like you don't you only need there's not enough customers for thousands of cargo bikes in the town. Right now, but from a volume point of view, I think like the electric scooter stuff is something that's going to be interesting. Like, we definitely don't think there's volume, like you've seen in Europe, you know, where you've got thousands and thousands and thousands of electric scooters, from five, even 10 operators in a single town. Like that's not the sort of work that we want to do. But we can definitely see how electric scooters play a part, shared electric scooters, I should say, clearly electric scooters, a privately owned electric scooter, like they exist and the numbers go up and up and up and up and up. But there's also I think, there's a shared electric scooter model that I haven't seen many examples of it really sort of working from an economic point of view. But yeah, there's there's there's definitely ways that we want to introduce them to our schemes.

Matt :

So that kind of rolls into a question that I think we'll finish up on. So we just launched the integration with next bike in Cardiff, which is similar to you guys. And similar to the work that we've done with you guys, local to us in Bournemouth, and then is happening across the whole UK lots of you know, this integration stuff happening with our stuff and with other supplies as well. And it's actually been promoted as sort of giving control and giving choice to commuters, especially in this current climate where people might not want to get on to buses. So it's an element of choice where they can still use, if they don't actually have their own vehicles, a way to get around. And so, I guess, two question prong there, what do you think about that as a choice of way of promoting it, but also, as well as promoting people? How do we then convert those people? How do we convert those car drivers into sort of permanent users of this? And especially how do you reach the children to make sure that they that this is just synonymous with their upbringing, this is the thing that they're thinking about because I don't think I've seen so far and I could well be wrong. Child bikes that are part of Bike Share schemes or anything like that. So..

Phil :

I think just on the child, but the challenge that, you know, Bike Share rental providers have with with younger users, it's not a inability to serve them. It's it's just it's an insurance thing as much and a contracting thing as much as anything. You know, every time someone rides a bike, that contracting with us, you know, yeah, you're paying us to use our service. That's a contract. In the bounds of that contract, we're able to deliver a certain level of safety and quality and also insure you to a certain level. And we actually offer insurance to all our riders, and it's a policy that has been used actually. So if a rider of our bikes, even if it's entirely their fault, they've like cycled into the back of a car and damaged the car. Like we that's our insurance policy, we aren't sure our insurance policy will pay out to that driver, even if it's the fault of our rider, like that's like an important level of service that we want to give to our riders. And of course, we like ensuring the rider and the journey. itself, like if they have an accident we're insuring them and have all the necessary safety, liability insurance says that you require, it gets a little bit more murky when somebody who is not of majority age is, effectively according to the laws in this country, they can't contract with you. If they're a child, they can't contract with you. And so some of that stuff gets a little bit more murky. Now, we'd still ensure that right so if you're putting your kid on a bike, like we they are still covered by insurance, so they don't worry too much about it. But but that's why that's why you're that's why there's sort of a bit of a challenge there. So that, you know, it's more of a sort of regulatory thing and an insurance thing, as I said, as much as anything. Yeah. So actually write the answer to getting children the big societal goal there that you're sort of hinting at. You know, there is no substitute for safe, segregated cycling. And that is the way, really to have a societal shift towards people being happy to get their child to cycle to school every day is if they can see...

Tom :

Can I can I just say Amen Phil, Amen.

Phil :

I can't I can't do that but politically, like that's how it has to happen. And and yeah, like you start with kids and ingrained into people that we don't, again, we don't need to sort of hypothesise about that so much you can. Well, I don't know, we are probably what, like 220 miles as the crow flies from the Netherlands, like, it's doable. You just do it. I know. I say that in a simple sentence. But like, it doesn't need to be any more complicated than that. If you have the cash and the political will, but yeah, and I think I guess the other part, your question was more of a MaaS-y type question. In terms of, you know, you mentioned that the link with nextbike and other places that we might want to do some work together on for enabling just a nice seamless, easy, sustainable, predictable, predictable in cost, predictable in service delivery journey like that. And that's obviously the whole, the whole sort of MaaS thing. And I think, I guess I'm not as like, otherwise I'd be running a MaaS organisation like you guys, I dont have as clear a view of exactly like how all of that stuff really benefits and works from a economic model point of view. But clearly, if you're serving people with a bit more information about how they might be able to make that journey, they're more likely to do it. Like you've got to, you've got to show people it's possible and deliver people what they expect with their journey, which is that predictability and level of quality. You know, that that's, that's the baseline that you got to meet.

Tom :

I think you're absolutely right. It's got to start with the individual is gonna start with that seamless journey, that efficiency of, you know, service, the payment part and then I think the economic models will follow. I think all of those things will come for the right, in the right geography for the right organisations. As long as the you know,the individual, the travelling public are the centre of that, of that user story in that hole.

Phil :

But again, the other problem I think, I guess I see is like, again, it's like the local differences. So, like a standard MaaS offering from an individual point of view, every journey is different and then of course, every town is different. So I don't understand some of the mass models where it's like, you know, a subscription sort of mass model where you pay £30 a month or whatever and you get all-you-can-eat bike share, all-you-can-eat buses, and like two or three cab journeys and maybe, you know, one scooter ride like this this like mixed bundle, like a shopping basket or most of stuff that you get because you know, you've everyone's actual sort of pattern is quite different. But my bigger problem there with that is that if you've got three or four or two or whatever, like cab journeys in the basket, people are going to take them. And actually, yeah, and that's in a basket. And that may not necessarily be a good thing. And especially if you've built up a MaaS model, like you've built up this shopping basket, and the commercial models with the service providers means that as a MaaS operator, you've got to shove a certain amount of volume onto buses, a certain amount of volume onto bikes, a certain amount of volume onto a vehicle. You know, those journeys that get pushed towards a vehicle, you got to make sure that those journeys are definitely the ones that should happen with a vehicle and not just because at that particular time of day, it might be cheaper or quicker. You got to, like consider, like all the other sort of factors around the journey that you're trying to facilitate so it's like, it's difficult.