MANILA -- The country's first bike and e-scooter sharing service is set to be made available in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, just in time for the holidays.
Called Moovr, the app is developed by the same people behind the storage service Keepr.
It is available for both Android and iOS devices, and has a target launch date of December 18, Friday.
Anna Moncupa, founder and general manager of both Moovr and Keepr, said both apps although different were guided by their "fundamental desire to introduce convenient, inclusive, customer-centered, and modern solutions to everyday problems."
"With Keepr, we aim to solve space issues inside your homes, and now with Moovr, we're aiming to solve space issues outside of our homes. Our roads are getting more congested and travel takes longer, so we wanted to offer a safe and convenient way to move around the city," she said in a recent virtual briefing with the media.
"This concept is not entirely new, I'm sure most of you have seen them in your travels overseas, but the challenge here was really about making sure it's a perfect fit for the general commuting public in the Philippines. We really had to localize this entire service," she added.
According to Moncupa, they decided to pick BGC as their first location "because they already have the infrastructure," adding that they hope to expand to other areas in the future.
Jay Teodoro, chief operations officer of Fort Bonifacio Development Corp., for his part said they welcome the alternative mode of transportation provided by Moovr.
"Because of the pandemic, we need a safer mode of transportation other than jeepneys and buses. We believe that biking will also promote a more sustainable mode of transportation in BGC, but we also understand that not everyone will be able to bring their bikes," he said.
A total of 200 bicycles and 20 e-scooters will be made available at launch, and these will be spread across "hubs" in BGC.
These include Bonifacio Stopover, Burgos Circle, Crescent South, Bonifacio High Street (BHS) Central, BHS East 1, BHS East 2, BHS East 3, BHS East 4, Fully Booked, Fort Strip, CCI, MC Home Depot, MM 1, and MM 2.
Rates for the use of the bicycles start at P60 per hour (charged as P15 for every 15 minutes or a fraction thereof), and P150 per hour for e-scooters (charged as P50 for every 20 minutes or a fraction thereof).
All transactions are done within the app -- from renting a ride to unlocking it at the hub and returning it -- without any need for human interaction.
"All they really have to do is download the app and subscribe. All they need is a phone number and a smartphone. Then they open the app and off the bat, they'll be able to see the devices available," Moncupa said.
"So they go to any device, they unlock it, they scan the QR code, and they're good to go."
Aside from credit and debit cards, GCash payments are also accepted by Moovr, with Moncupa saying it is part of their efforts to be as "inclusive" as possible.
When asked how they are able to lower their rates, she replied: "The business model is actually us tapping into these corporations who are willing to support such a green initiative. So we sell advertising space on the bikes which help with our overhead, and in turn we can pass on lower cost to our users."
Only bicycles and e-scooters are shared by Moovr, which encourages all riders to wear their own helmets when using the service.
Fort Bonifacio's Teodoro said that helmets are not required in BGC, but they are highly recommended.
He added that BGC's existing guidelines on bicycles and e-scooters apply to Moovr, particularly when it comes to the use of lanes.
"There are some lanes where it's shared with the buses so you have to maintain a minimum of 10 meter distance from the buses. And you'll only be allowed to overtake at the bus stops," he said.
"They will not be allowed in the sidewalks, so they will have to use the carriageway. Although we've provided bollards to ensure safety of the bikers," he added.
Moncupa, for her part, shared that Moovr has insurance that covers up to third-party liabilities as part of their agreement with BGC.
As to how they will ensure the safety of the equipment from theft and breakage, she cited mechanisms such as alarms and a ticketing system within the app that they can easily monitor and track.
"The scooters themselves will not move outside of the service area. So you ride them outside of BGC and it just throttles down until you just can't turn them on anymore. And they also make quite a fuss when they're outside the service area, they have alarms. It tends to be really loud," Moncupa explained.
"That and, of course, we have our GPS. So everything is transparent, we see everything. Anytime it is used, it is rented, or even if it is just reserved, we see it all in our system," she added.