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How bike scooter sharing affects CRE

You’ve seen them everywhere. Dockless bikes and scooters, the shareable and low-responsibility transportation devices, are sweeping the nation and becoming immensely popular in California. You may have ridden one yourself, you may have scowled at one as it rode too close to your car or you may have even smiled at one as you saw someone riding it in a full suit on the way to a business pitch. Whatever your interaction with this scooters has been, you may not have thought how bike scooter sharing affects CRE. 

These scooters and bikes affect the flow of traffic in cities and pedestrian laws, but they are merging closer to real estate ventures in a way that shows they also affect another part of city life. Lime, one of the biggest companies in the scooter-sharing industry, has accepted money from Fifth Wall Ventures, a real estate venture capital firm started by one of the founders of Invitation Homes. As of August 2018, Fifth Wall had given money to 27 companies. But why give to Lime? Fifth Wall sees the scooter and bike sharing company as an innovation in real estate, something that has been backed up in recent studies. But how does this affect the CRE industry exactly?

According to a study done by RCLCO, increased mobility options correspond directly with higher apartment rents. Traditional mobility options such as buses, trains and taxis are important, but the sometimes limited nature of these services is not as attractive as an option that you don’t have to walk far to and start riding instantly. When it comes to CRE, increased mobility to a space is a plus. Tenants want people to be able to access their business. But does the liability outweigh the commodity?

One of the draws of the scooters and bikes is that you can leave them anywhere. But for CRE, that can be a major drawback. The question of who takes responsibility for scooters and bikes left on the premises still remains unclear. Many businesses suffer from the unattractive and often dangerous reality of scooters and bikes laying on sidewalks and walkways in front of their properties. 

While these scooters and bikes bring problems along with the solutions that they offer to riders, they also bring a wealth of data to the table. Many cities in California, such as Santa Monica, are allowing scooters and bikes to operate in their cities with the provision that the companies share data with the cities. The data allows the city to gain more information things such as where people are using scooters the most, how they affect traffic and what resources are potentially needed to accommodate for the growing trend. If developed and shared, this data could be a valuable insight for the CRE industry and for landlords and tenants alike.

Despite personal views on the scooters, it is hard to deny that they are revolutionary in some right. Whether or not you want to look at the scooters as innovations that affect real estate and CRE, it must be acknowledged that these companies are changing the landscape of cities around the world. As many scooter and bike share companies reach their one-year anniversary, more data is bound to uncover more information about the effects of the new transportation options on CRE.