We’ve been wrestling with the decision of whether to continue deploying bikes in the current environment. There are good reasons to do so and good reasons not to.
On one hand, it is undoubtedly true that our bikes provide an important service for everyone who has a need to be out and about. If you’re going to work at an essential job, going to the pharmacy, or picking up food or groceries for your family, being able to ride Wheels is a very good thing. Whereas public transportation and car ride-sharing are fundamentally incompatible with social distancing, riding Wheels allows people to do necessary travel without having to be close to others. This is much healthier and gives people peace of mind. In fact, we just completed a survey of our riders in which we asked them whether, in light of the Coronavirus, they prefer to ride Wheels as opposed to public transportation or car ride-sharing. Not surprisingly, 93% of those responding said that they prefer Wheels. In addition, the demand for our bikes has continued to be very strong even with all the recent limitations on people’s movement. It’s clear that people still want to ride Wheels.
On the other hand, it’s critical to us that we take care of our field team, and that we do everything we can to limit the spread of the virus. In terms of our field team, we have been following all of the guidance, including requiring appropriate social distancing in our warehouses. Still, we recognize there is uncertainty given how fast everything is changing. Also, while rider demand has continued to be strong for us and many of our riders are surely using Wheels for essential purposes, we’re concerned that some could be using Wheels for less essential purposes, and we don’t want that right now, either for those riders or for the communities we serve.
After weighing the pros and cons, we’ve decided that the best course of action is to temporarily stop deploying bikes until the end of March and to revisit this then. To be clear, we strongly believe that micromobility in general, and Wheels in particular, is in a unique position to help our communities get through the current challenges. This temporary pause will help position us to deliver on that, and we will be announcing some exciting news on that front in the very near future.