Ideas We Love: Making Commutes Affordable and Fun with Micromobility

Mobility in Memphis isn’t just about cars and buses. Whether you are looking for a little fresh air, an eco-friendly mode to get to work, or ways to cut back on gas and parking costs, two local organizations are offering residents affordable access to micromobility vehicles, namely e-bikes and scooters. Micromobility is a rapidly growing transportation mode across the United States based on small, low-speed vehicles that require little to no gas and that users can rent or lease to own. In Memphis, Explore Bike Share and MyCityRides are leading the way with e-bike and scooter programs perfectly suited for people to get around town in a low-cost, user-friendly way.

Explore Bike Share launched in Memphis in 2018 as a dock-to-dock bike rental program with goals to improve public access, promote a stronger local biking culture, and provide an easy-to-use, fun form of healthy exercise. Users download the Explore Bike Share app to check out and return a bike at one of the dozens of dock stations situated in Downtown, Midtown, and along the trails at Shelby Farms and the Big River Crossing in Arkansas. Explore’s bike fleet is now fully electric. Whereas e-bikes can cost between $500-2,500 just to purchase, Explore Bike Share users can buy individual rides, $35 three-day passes, or an annual membership for $120 without having to worry about ongoing maintenance or recharging. (Our executive director Jessica Lotz is a proud annual EBS member and appreciates how the “power boost” speeds up her commute to work without having to break a sweat for most of the fall, winter, and spring months!)

MyCityRides started primarily as a workforce development program by using scooters to address the transportation issues that keep people from getting to work. With cars costs skyrocketing and bus schedules that don’t always fit work shifts, MyCityRides offers scooters as part of a fixed-cost program.  MyCityRides “Flyers” apply to join the program and can lease-to-own scooters over a three-year period for $5,000-5,500 total – less than 20% of the cost to own a car per mile. This cost covers the scooter itself, license and insurance, safety gear, regular maintenance, and Scooter School.  MyCityRides helps working people regain time and save money, because when people have control of their time and money, they are empowered to live the lives they want. Today, over 500 “flyers” have ridden over 1.5 million miles on their scooters and have saved almost $1 million dollars.