Success of program with Veo prompts more marketing and public education
Syracuse, N.Y. – The City of Syracuse Department of Public Works (DPW), along with rideshare company Veo, presented new data to the Syracuse Common Council on the successes of the City’s Syracuse Sync micromobility program. Ridership is flourishing since the program launched in September 2021. The growth in ridership has been attributed to an expanded fleet of vehicles, improved parking policies, and new initiatives that provide residents and visitors with convenient, affordable, and sustainable transportation options for getting around town. The success of the program is prompting the City and its partner to roll out more marketing and public information to educate riders and residents as they adjust to how the program works and looks around town.
“The data from Veo on ridership demonstrates the significant need for this service in the community and we’re happy the partnership is yielding an increase in activity. The transportation landscape in Syracuse and other mid-sized cities is changing rapidly, so we have to constantly adapt to meet the evolving needs of our residents,” said Mayor Ben Walsh. “There is a learning curve but we embrace the opportunity.”
Since launching its expanded fleet in Syracuse this spring, Veo has seen an average of over 1,000 rides per day. The City explained during the Common Council Committee meeting that according to Veo reports, Syracuse is 2nd in the nation for number of rides in the month of May this year despite having one of the smallest fleets of any Veo city. To put this into perspective, Syracuse had approximately 350 bikes and scooters on the streets in May, and those 350 vehicles were ridden 38,752 times, for a total of 79,687 miles traveled – enough to travel around the Earth more than three times.
“The consistently strong ridership numbers in Syracuse underscore the important role Veo shared bikes and e-scooters play in the daily travel needs of residents and visitors,” said Candice Xie, Veo CEO. “We’re committed to working with the City to increase public education around the program further and meet the growing and evolving micromobility needs of the community.”
Marketing Point-to-Point Service Models in New Cities
Veo Syracuse Program Manager Paul Colabufo says that as Syracuse ridership has grown, complaints remain low and have trended in areas of low ridership where there may be less familiarity with how the program works. According to Veo in the presentation given to the Common Council, about 9 out of 10 complaints submitted have been to alert the company of scooters thought to be misplaced but were in fact parked properly. As the community adapts to the program, Veo expects complaints will drop in frequency.
“As the community learns how the program works and gets used to seeing the vehicles around town, we expect complaints to drop further,” says Chief Operating Officer Corey Driscoll Dunham. “The more communication we can do on our end to keep residents informed on the rules of the road with these vehicles, the better.”
The City is planning communications alongside Veo to help residents and new riders adapt and to set community expectations about the system. Veo is a point to point service, in which people ride the vehicles directly to their destination and park it there. All units are tracked by GPS, and instructions on how to properly park vehicles are provided with every ride. Riders must submit a photo of their parked vehicle in order to end the ride, and the photo is kept on file for Veo staff to reference. While Veo periodically incentivizes users to park their vehicles at hubs with discounts, the goal of this micromobility program is to have vehicles readily available to users all around town, not just at centralized hubs.
The City understands this type of transportation option is a way to provide greater flexibility for travelers, allowing people to arrive directly to where they need to go, according to the City’s Transportation Planner Neil Burke. “Residents can ride a Veo scooter or bike straight to their destination which is a natural extension of Centro bus service, providing a true first and last mile solution. Vehicles do not have to be left at hubs, users can ride directly to their destinations and leave a vehicle for another rider in the area to pick it up next.”
According to Veo, while the heaviest daily ridership has been seen on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, there is also very strong and consistent ridership at peak after-work commuting times on weekdays. Burke analyzed these ridership trends and believes they indicate people are frequently using the vehicles to commute and run daily errands as opposed to using them only for recreational rides. For instance, Veo reported about 700 rides on a stormy Monday afternoon in this May, signaling there are residents who are using these vehicles to get to their daily destinations, not just riding them for fun on a sunny Saturday.
“People using these vehicles to get to work, run errands, and generally get around town is the bread and butter of this program, that’s what we intended it to do,” says Colabufo. “The need is here, the want is here, and the usage is here.”
Veo is reporting high ridership around hubs at neighborhood amenities like Salt City Market, and in areas like the Northside, where there are lower numbers of residents with access to a private vehicle.
“Economic development is a key factor in how we’re trying to use this system,” says Deputy Commissioner of Business Development Eric Ennis. “Having more transportation options in all areas of the city is crucial for all residents and local businesses.”
Veo currently has seven staff members who work to distribute and charge vehicles across the city, respond to issues, and maintain its fleet. The company’s local headquarters is in Tipperary Hill, within the city, so they are able to respond to locations throughout Syracuse quickly. Veo staff utilize a commercial van for balancing the fleet and responding to issues. They are currently hiring and planning to deploy a second van soon.
“Veo is very responsive to fleet concerns and has a team out in the field changing batteries and addressing any complaints on a constant basis,” says Dunham.
Learn all about the new Veo micromobility program with bit.ly/syr-veovideo or visit veoride.com/syracuse/ to get familiar with Veo rules and support. More content will be available on the City’s website in the coming months. Residents with questions should call the number on the bike or scooter (855-VEO-2256) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Syracuse residents can also directly email email@example.com with any concerns.
Veo is bringing the next generation of shared electric bikes and scooters to cities and universities around the world. Founded in 2017 by two Purdue University graduates, Veo operates from a set of values that distinguish us in the industry. We are grounded in financial responsibility: Veo partnered with select cities to achieve profitability before scaling. Our in-house design and manufacturing process enables us to constantly innovate and provide cities with vehicle fleets that are made to last. We develop collaborative, long-term partnerships with cities and universities so we can work together toward a sustainable, safe, and equitable transportation future. Learn more at veoride.com
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