Pandemic puts the brakes on micromobility

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As of this writing, nearly a million people globally have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 50,322 have died. Healthcare systems are overwhelmed, consumers and profiteers are hoarding supplies and some service workers have launched strikes while many others have been let go. In the world of micromobility, we’ve seen Bird lay off hundreds of employees and Lime is reportedly gearing up for layoffs of its own.

Ride Report creates software that enables cities to better work with micromobility operators and has a bird’s-eye view on the industry. In a conversation with TechCrunch, CEO William Henderson outlined some of the trends that have emerged and what we can expect for micromobility operators amid the pandemic — and once it’s over.

“All of this came at a really hard time for micromobility,” he tells TechCrunch. “It couldn’t really have occurred at a worse time in some ways.”

That’s because there was already a lot of pressure on startups in the space to reach profitability on an accelerated timeline, Henderson says. While winter is notoriously known as a rough time, the environment in this pandemic is “micromobility winter on steroids.”

Over the last month, companies have paused operations in cities and started laying off people. Operators Bird and Lime, for example, paused operations across the board last month.