Taiwan’s local e-scooter sharing platform GoShare announced in late March that it will be building service stations in Tainan during the second quarter of this year. The main e-scooter model available for rental at the service stations in Tainan will be Aeon Motor’s Ai-1. Besides expanding into southern Taiwan, GoShare DOTS, which is a one-way mobility sharing program under GoShare, also activated new routes along the island’s North Coast on April 1.
GoShare first publicized its plan to expand into southern Taiwan at a press conference on March 30. At the event, GoShare confirmed its intention to set up new service stations in the historic city of Tainan. Along with this southward expansion is the introduction of e-scooters from other partnering vehicle manufacturers besides Gogoro. Specifically, Aeon Motor’s Ai-1 has been selected as the main e-scooter model for the service stations in Tainan. One of the reasons behind the development of GoShare is to meet consumers’ demand for variety when it comes to brand selection and riding experience.
The number of e-scooters available for rental on GoShare has reached around 4,000. Although Tainan is less populous than Taipei and other urban centers in northern Taiwan, GoShare will be assigning to the city an initial fleet totaling 300-500 vehicles. Aeon Motor, which has relatively low brand visibility in the e-scooter market, can use this opportunity to show off the design and technology of its offerings.
GoShare DOTS, which is currently limited to the North Coast in terms of service coverage (from Tamsui District to Gongliao District), is a one-way mobility sharing program. Specially, its users can pick up an e-scooter at a designated docking station and returns it to another designated docking station. It cannot be returned to other docking stations even if they are part of the GoShare platform. This point-to-point mode of vehicle rental thus differs from the free-floating mode that allows users to check out an e-scooter and return it to any docking stations within a predefined area. Routes under GoShare DOTS only have docking stations at the starting and terminal points, so the e-scooters assigned to this program cannot be returned in the middle of the trip. However, there are battery-swap kiosks along these routes to service riders.
The government of New Taipei City has been instrumental in pushing for the implementation of GoShare DOTS in the North Coast and has subsidized a part of the program’s operating cost. As a result, GoShare DOTS for a limited time will be offering the first 20 minutes free for every trip. Furthermore, GoShare DOTS was officially launched on April 1 to take advantage of the long weekend of the Qingming Festival.
Although the point-to-point mode of e-scooter rental is not as convenient as the free-floating mode, it is less costly to maintain for both the platform operator and the local government that wants to support mobility sharing services. At the same time, having designated docking stations will prevent indiscriminate and illegal parking that is a major problem for free-floating mobility sharing services. Frequently users of mobility sharing apps have long recognized that finding an available lot at one of the limited number of docking stations or a free public parking space in the downtown area of a city such as Taipei can be a massive headache.
For users of GoShare, having one-way routes with docking stations situated at popular destinations including tourist spots, schools, and hubs of business activities can be regarded as extensions to the existing public transportation system. Knowing that there is a specific place to drop off the vehicle is a convenience that can be very attractive for prospective platform users as well. Going forward, GoShare DOTS as a new business model based on the GoShare platform will help open up a new segment within the local e-scooter market. Additionally, the program could become a valuable tool for the collection of data on the behavior of platform users. Hence, we can expect GoShare DOTS to be established other places around Taiwan.
GoShare will be offering the following prizes and special offers to celebrate its expansion into Tainan and the launch of GoShare DOTS in the North Coast during March and April:
March 27-29: GoShare will give away NT$2 million worth of prizes to random users of its apps at any time within this period. Users that log on to the app and rent an e-scooter will have a chance to receive a virtual “Easter Egg” containing a fantastic gift or reward.
April 1-30: For every trip, GoShare DOTS will offer the first 20 minutes free and then follow with a discount rate of NT$2.5 per minute.
April 2-5: GoShare’s free-floating mobility sharing service will offer 50% discount every day from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM during the Qingming Festival.
April 1-30: A newly registered user of GoShare with an EasyCard tied to the personalized digital services of the LINE app can sign up for additional rewards. For example, the user of such EasyCard can get 30 minutes free for the first e-scooter rental and NT$100 credited to his or her GoShare account after taking 11 trips on Taipei Metro with the card.
GoShare has also partnered with Taiwan’s four major banks to allow platform users to earn cashback by paying e-scooter rentals with a card issued by one of these institutions. In fact, a “GoShare Card Member Week” will be celebrated in April to give platform users an opportunity to get as much benefit as they can from using their credit cards for seven days a week during the month. The four banks and their cashback rewards (percentages) are listed as follow: Taishin International Bank (50% for all members), CTBC (50% for all members), Mega Bank (17% for all members), and Cathay United Bank (10% for holders of the KOKO card).
(News source: TechNews. Photo credit: GoShare/Gogoro Inc.)