Even before the pandemic, micromobility was a trend beginning to sweep across the nation. In 2019, micromobility accounted for 136 million trips taken in the US before COVID-19 began to dampen the industry's growth.
Now that the pandemic is subsiding and more companies are calling employees back to the office, micromobility is again in the spotlight. This transportation market segment is estimated to grow from a 3.4 billion dollar industry in 2022 to 6.1 billion by 2027.
With micromobility on the rise, employers are seeing the value in adding it to their benefits package. To attract and retain top talent, it's no longer enough to offer only health insurance and wellness benefits. To be truly competitive, employers need to be creative and find what appeals to their employees.
One of the biggest draws of the micromobility movement for employees is that it provides for several different types of transportation, including:
- E-scooters – Currently, e-scooters are the most popular form of micromobility devices worldwide. These stand-up devices can travel anywhere from 18-28 mph and be used on sidewalks or bicycle lanes. Most e-scooters are acquired using a sharing app that allows users to rent the scooter by the minute. The most significant advantage to e-scooters is that a user can usually find one close by to pick up, and it can be left at the user's end destination for the next rider to find.
- E-bikes – E-bikes are electric bicycles that look like any other traditional bicycle, and the operation is like riding a regular bike. Its assistance in pedaling makes e-bikes unique and popular amongst commuters- particularly useful in hilly terrains or during long commutes. Some e-bikes can also operate on the electric mode to power the bike without pedaling. Like the e-scooter, the maximum speed of the e-bike is around 18–28 mph. There are two basic models for distribution; the first is the dockless bike model, which allows the rider to leave the bike anywhere when they are finished riding. The other is the docking system that requires riders to return the bike at a designated dock station.
- Other – Other types of micromobility devices include e-skateboards and mini e-cars. Both are more popular in Europe than in the US, popping up in some of the most sustainable cities in the world.
The value in promoting micromobility
Encouraging micromobility has advantages for both the employee and the employer.
For employers, offering micromobility benefits can encourage employees to return to the office by providing a low-cost, socially distanced alternative to public transportation and/or ride-sharing. Employees are increasingly conscious of cramming into a train or bus with strangers during cold and flu season, which is at a decade high in the US.
Allowing employees access to micromobility saves them money on their commute and will likely result in fewer sick days.
Offering commuter benefits
As changes in micromobility reshape how employees commute to work, it will also affect which benefits your employees see as most valuable.
Commuter benefits can offset the cost of public transportation and some forms of parking. Employees can save up to 40 percent off the cost of their commute by setting money aside in their paychecks tax-free.
And employers save money because of decreased payroll taxes and increased productivity, or less sick time taken.
At Edenred, we understand that micromobility is changing how companies look at benefits. That's why we offer various shared mobility options integrated into one commuter account. We can also assist you with identifying eligible pre-tax expenses, so your company and employees continue to receive tax incentives and remain compliant with IRS regulations. Schedule a meeting with us today so we can discuss your options for you.