As a member of the board of directors for Som Mobilitat (a vehicle-sharing cooperative based in Catalonia), I got to experience this crisis from the inside. We’d experienced tremendous growth over the last two years, and overnight, everything collapsed with the lockdown. Between March and May, we experienced a brutal 85% drop in reservations.
This period also taught us a lot. We of course increased health and safety measures by putting gel and masks in every shared vehicle, and by airing out each one between uses—but what this crisis also provided was a lesson in community solidarity. Very quickly, we made vehicles including the Renault ZOE available to health professionals so that they could travel to and from the hospital more easily.
We also gained important insight into general public feeling. Though lockdown was a difficult time, we noticed that the public nevertheless seemed to appreciate having a city that was less crowded and less polluted, as much in terms of sound and visual pollution as in terms of CO2 emissions.
This kind of clean city is something shared mobility can help make possible. We’re contributing to it with low-emission vehicles and optimised trips. We think this experience should motivate local councils to adopt shared mobility policies in the future.