Scooters in Paris: Riding the Edge of Change

Paris is deciding the fate of 15,000 electric scooters on March 23rd. Will licenses for three companies be renewed, or will the colorful vehicles no longer spill across its streets?

Paris set the pace in the electric scooter race. Residents and visitors embraced them as a convenient solution to traffic jams and overcrowded public transport. The success of e-scooters in Paris proved that they are not just overhyped, VC-funded fads.

“Paris is essential,” Matthieu Faure, Dott’s Director of Marketing and Communications, shared with me. “It’s the world’s largest business hub and symbolically significant.”

In September 2022, Paris Deputy Mayors David Belliard and Emmanuel Grégoire called for a meeting with the three mobility operators – Dott, Lime and Tier. The city expressed dissatisfaction with their safety standards and urban clutter management. It wasn’t the first time they had made such complaints.

From the beginning, inadequate regulation enabled a dozen different scooter startups—Bird, Bolt, Bolt by Usain Bolt (yes, two Bolts), Circ, Dott, Hive Jump Lime Tier Voi Ufo and Wind—to roll out their fleets in Paris.

The tender process resulted in a 20 km/h speed limit and designated parking spaces.

Paris, with its efficient subway and subsidized bike-sharing service (400K+ subscribers), offers many options for getting from A to B. Electric scooters are increasingly popular as an alternative to the metro or moped/Uber – they’re greener too!

Parisians and tourists alike have embraced electric scooters in a big way.

In October 2022, Dott, Lime and Tier registered over 2 million rides from their 400,000 Paris-based users – 85% of whom are city dwellers.

Paris has around 15,000 scooters on its streets–operators are limited to a maximum of 5,000 each. Fluctuo estimates that 300,000 shared scooters now operate across 33 European cities.

In Paris, scooters are used extensively – several times a day. Here’s the monthly number of rides:

Credits: Dott, Lime and Tier.

The promise of metrics like these has propelled companies such as Lime, Dott, and Tier to massive valuations and funding rounds. According to Crunchbase, Lime raised $1.5 billion so far while Dott secured $210 million and Tier grabbed nearly $650 million.

After the September 2022 meeting in Paris, Lime, Dott and Tier got an important reminder: they shouldn’t assume their scooter licenses will be renewed in 2023. Knowing that market conditions were not on their side, they had to prioritize proving themselves as respectful companies to the city.

In October 2022, the three operators created an 11-proposal list to improve safety and integrate public spaces, from banning rule-breakers to using camera sidewalks.

Dott, Lime and Tier have implemented an age verification system, requiring users to take a photo of their ID, as well as adding registration plates to all scooters. This helps police identify any two-person riders at a given time and allows the companies to track who was using each scooter.

In December, Tier took proactive steps to launch two initiatives: ID verification and license plates for shared e-scooters in Paris. After 30 days, all of the scooters have license plates and 160,000 IDs have been verified. Erwann Le Page, director of public policy for Western Europe at Tier stated this information to me.

Nothing occurred.

The negotiation tactic of silence

Paris is divided on scooter regulation, with Deputy Mayor David Belliard leading the charge to ban them. His words hold sway as he oversees transportation in the city, among other responsibilities.

He’s using media interviews to argue for a ban on scooters, showing that not all members of the city council are in agreement.

Matthieu Faure of Dott expresses his resistance to shared scooters, but can’t explain why: “It’s a personal opinion…He doesn’t give any rational explanation.”

What is Anne Hidalgo’s stance on scooters? Unknown.

“The City Council has yet to communicate a decision,” a Lime spokesperson informed me. “Additionally, the City has not replied to any of Lime’s or the other two operators’ meeting requests and letters.”

Erwann Le Page of Tier noted that they have yet to hear from Paris and the contract will expire on March 23rd.

We asked Paris for a comment and will update our story if we receive one.


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Anne Hidalgo must decide if scooter licenses should be renewed – all other noise is irrelevant.

Scooter companies are proactively improving safety due to the Mayor of Paris’ silence. No need to reach out yet.

The most effective way to get improvements from operators right now is to say nothing.

Reducing dependence on scooters in Paris

Today, micromobility companies rely on full-time staff to monitor and maintain their fleets, performing tasks such as repairs, replacements, vehicle relocations and battery swaps.

Currently, 800 people are employed by Dott, Lime and Tier in Paris. An additional 200 work indirectly with the three operators; a subcontractor company patrols the streets of Paris on their behalf.

Dott’s model is profitable in Paris, taking into account all fixed and variable costs such as vehicle depreciation and amortization (EBIT). It has been working well.

Dott, Lime and Tier have launched free-floating electric bike-sharing services in dozens of cities worldwide, with Paris providing a significant source of revenue for the companies.

Operators of free-floating bikes in Paris had to sign an agreement and pay a license fee, foregoing the tender process.

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Adding electric bikes is a smart move; Lime’s scooters and bikes use the same batteries, so their operations team can swap them while roaming Paris streets.

Employees of Dott, Lime and Tier protested at city hall Wednesday to request a meeting with officials for clarity on their companies’ ability to offer scooters past March 23rd.

The city of Paris is silent on the license renewal, but a decision must be made soon. This has drawn attention from micromobility companies and local governments eager to learn what it will be.

Tier Mobility is a company that provides fleets of electric scooters for rent. Their goal is to reduce traffic on the roads and make it easier for people to get around without having to own their own vehicle. They offer this service in

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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