The Municipal Transport Company (EMT) is promoting alternative private services to public transport in its official mobility application, Madrid Mobility 360. It does so for several scooter companies deployed in the city in recent months and also for electric bicycle companies without a fixed base, which are in direct competition with their bicycle rental service.
Bicimad plummeting: 3,000 subscribers fled from Madrid’s public bike in June
The EMT manages Bicimad since the last legislature, although with the arrival of Almeida it launched a bicycle system free-floating (bikes without anchors) called BicimadGo, which works in the same way as the cycles of private companies to which the City Council has granted permission to operate on the streets of the capital with thousands of devices, after the first failure registered two years ago .
One of the last companies to arrive in the capital has been Bolt, which also manages scooters and which the City Council integrated this Thursday into the EMT application. The promotion of this arrival to the municipal app, through the following tweet, has raised numerous criticisms.
“The EMT offering a private bicycle operator in its app, while it has hundreds of Bicimad bicycles accumulated without repair? But what shame is this Mr. Almedia? asked the councilor of Más Madrid, Esther Gómez. “Rectify this decision immediately and stop mistreating Bicimad,” he asked the mayor.
The mayor of the PSOE Ignacio Benito also criticized this gesture: “The EMT, a public company, advertising the competition, a private company. And while BiciMad agonizing due to lack of bicycles and staff. Almeida, it is a real shame, ”he lamented on social networks. The Socialists will take what they consider a “direct attack” on Bicimad to the next Board of Directors of the EMT.
The current management of the EMT and the Mobility area in Almeida’s team have always defended “freedom of choice” when dealing with mobility in Madrid and consider that the application of the controversy must offer all the services to move in Madrid, without distinguishing whether they are private or public.
“Madrid Mobility 360 reveals the different options of the Madrid mobility ecosystem: buses, metro, train, bicycles, taxis, scooters…”, says this app in its presentation. “Our powerful planner even takes into account shared mobility services without a fixed base and all your preferences,” she adds as one of its advantages. In addition to the Bolt bicycles, it includes those of the Bird company, the Flash and Cabify scooters and the Acciona, Cabify and Cooltra motorcycles. The list of private operators is completed with cars from Sharenow, Wible and Ubeeqo.
An app with little use and suspense from its users
The EMT Madrid Mobility 360 application, launched during the previous legislature and renamed Almeida, is one of the least popular of those developed by this municipal company. It is in the range of 10,000 to 100,000 downloads on Android devices and has a rating of 1.5 points out of 5, based on almost 400 user reviews. Most of them give you a fail in their usefulness.
Other EMT applications are much more popular, such as Bicimad’s own, which its users use to reserve anchorages or report incidents, with more than 100,000 downloads, or that of municipal buses, which is used to consult plans and waiting times in lines, with more than a million users on Android devices.
Bicimad subscribers, in free fall
The promotion of services that compete with the public bike system coincides with a sharp drop in the number of subscribers to Bicimad. The fall began more than a year ago, but spring, a season that used to be propitious to hook new users, has accelerated the process of leaving the service.
Currently, Bicimad subscribers barely exceed 61,000 and in recent months the pandemic effect that encouraged many people from Madrid to sign up for the public bicycle service for their trips around the city has been lost.