E-bikes and skateboards fail to pick up pace

E-bikes and skateboards fail to pick up pace

One by one, electric bike and e-skate rental companies have been withdrawing from the local market in recent years. RideMovi has temporarily stopped offering electric bikes in Athens through the Free Now application (formerly Beat) due to theft and vandalism.

RideMovi’s withdrawal of such services from the Greek market follows ventures such as that of Lime (electric skates, bicycle rental companies based in San Francisco and present in European cities) and earlier of Hive, which did not thrive in the country.

Especially in the case of Lime, besides the problems caused by the measures to restrict movement during the pandemic, there were also problems in its operation.

RideMovi’s decision comes a month-and-a-half after the official presentation of Free Now’s new application, which added options for commuting with electric bikes in Athens and Thessaloniki. It has a fleet of around 500-600 bikes in Greece’s two largest cities, with the Italian company planning to increase it to 1,000 bikes in the coming months.

According to Free Now sources, this decision is temporary as the company reviews the areas where the bikes are available and how they can be utilized. It is estimated that around 40 e-bicycles fell victim to theft and vandalism in Athens, in contrast to Thessaloniki, where the situation seems better, with the result that the service is operating normally there.

The phenomenon of vandalism and theft is not new, as police recently dismantled a gang stealing e-skateboards and accessories in southern Athens. In fact, from the preliminary investigation so far, a total of 21 cases of theft have been resolved, amounting to 17,000 euros. Usually perpetrators take the bikes and remove all components, such as for example the lithium batteries integrated in e-bikes. Of course, many point out that vandalism and theft are not a Greek phenomenon, considering also that such services are not particularly competitive in the Greek market.

“I’ve been in the Netherlands for years and I’ve seen e-skateboards being thrown into the river. The cost of using an e-bicycle or skateboard is high for one route – e.g. from the Panathenaic Stadium to Syntagma, it is the same as taking a taxi,” says Panagiotis Tzouras, transport engineer and user of such services.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.