How cities are reviving bikeshare programs with the support of Tandem Mobility
In just a few short months, Tandem Mobility has hit the ground running. Communities are eager to introduce new transportation options and Tandem is helping to make it happen.
Tandem Mobility was founded earlier this year in 2020 as a result of COVID19 slowing down and ultimately eliminating key players in the micro-mobility industry such as Zagster. As a previously tenured Zagster employee, Keli Hoyt-Rupert, the CEO of Tandem, saw an opportunity to extract what she learned at Zagster and expand upon it, building a foundation on which long term sustainable business can rely.
That foundation begins with the understanding that every community has unique needs, which makes flexibility a necessity. That flexibility is showcased with an array of custom turnkey options designed to align people, tech, and data around their community goals, allowing them to focus on high-level operations while Tandem takes care of the rest. Flexible turnkey options may include Movatic software, hardware, operations, rider support, project management, or any combo of these. This approach differs from Zagster’s option(s), which was more of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Since launching, Tandem has revived bikeshare programs in Huntsville, Hershey, and North Central Kansas, with Town Center, Cumberland, and Danville in the pipeline.
In the midst of growth, the team has now gained Stacy Sebeczek, the Strategic Partnerships Manager at Tandem. Stacy brings with her 8+ years of experience in the industry, having overseen the success of 30+ micro mobility programs during her most recent two years at Zagster. These projects have spanned multiple use cases with diverse system designs, serving communities with as few as 10,000 residents to those with upwards of 500,000 residents throughout the U.S. West. She enjoys working alongside elected officials, municipal staff, community leaders, funding partners, and advocacy organizations to help bring their bikeshare programs to life.
I chatted with Stacy to learn a bit more about what brought her to Tandem Mobility.
What is your connection to the micro-mobility industry?
Well, I suppose it is rooted in a deep personal conviction that bikes create better communities. Local bike shops, advocacy organizations, and citizens committed to cycling are the lifeblood of the culture. And to be clear, this is not an anti-car culture but one that is motivated by sustainability - whether it’s that of our health and wellness, of our environment and air quality, or of community connection. Shared mobility is a natural extension of that culture. We don’t need to adopt an extreme cycling lifestyle to enjoy the benefits of a simple bike ride - whether that be for recreation, fitness, commuting, or just for a bit of social(ly distant) time with friends.
I enjoy learning about each community’s unique vision for bringing shared bikes & scooters to their residents and visitors. It’s always a puzzle - aligning opportunities with larger transportation goals, often over many months’ time and within a very dynamic industry. My goal is always to be a resource to help partners navigate their own internal processes to launch and sustain shared mobility programs. And that’s one of the best aspects of being in this position at Tandem Mobility - having the opportunity to connect with communities near and far, sharing best practices and supporting the implementation and ongoing sustainability of these crucial programs.
What should everybody know about Tandem and the benefits you guys provide?
We work together with our partners to talk through any gaps in their current transportation infrastructure and to build systems that make sense for each community. This is definitely a two-way conversation, allowing us to advise each community on best practices while also learning from all of our partnerships and continuing to iterate on the way that we manage projects and provide support. We’re constantly evaluating the drivers behind each new program’s implementation: what are the pain points that shared mobility is solving for? How will this bike share fit seamlessly into the fabric of the culture there & how do we expect ridership will move the needle on a few specific goals of the city (i.e. are these communities working toward any carbon neutral visions, wellness initiatives, or congestion mitigation efforts, etc?)
I’m also really excited about our software partner, Movatic. Through the Movatic platform, we offer a premium bike rental and partner account experience - from supporting international currencies to multiple bike rentals on one rider account and very customizable membership options. And renting a bike is as easy as scanning a QR code.
The discovery process with each city is focused on gaining a true understanding of the community goals and advising the partners on various solutions that would align best with their vision. That’s the beauty of having a range of a-la-carte support offerings available. We love providing the full turn-key bikeshare for communities who want us to oversee everything from hardware acquisition to liability insurance to customer support for their bikeshare. This ensures that cities aren’t assuming a staffing burden to oversee the day-to-day elements of the program, freeing up the stakeholders to focus on strategic visioning and other mission-driven community engagement. And for cities who have some more of the operational pieces in place, we can jump in and provide a lighter level of support where there is a specific need - for example by providing just an insurance & maintenance package, or perhaps just by providing resources for their on-the-ground mechanics to ensure their success and again to reduce the administrative burden on the municipal partners.
And what about you? Why did you ultimately decide to join the Tandem Mobility team?
Having supported some of the most vibrant communities in building their bike and scooter share programs over the years, the sudden shift in momentum in Spring of 2020 immediately impacted not just my career but my connection to the industry. I cared deeply for the work I was doing through Zagster and with its sudden dissolution I actually grieved the loss of these partnerships and opportunities to bring micromobility to riders at a time when it couldn’t be more important to provide more safe transportation choices.
Throughout the summer of 2020 as COVID-19 dominated headlines I was fortunate to remain healthy and to have had the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate the state of the industry, to see how companies pivoted to meet the needs of communities, and to seek out those that were doing so with a strong sense of compassion and innovation. Tandem rose to the top, as there is great synergy between Tandem’s vision and my own. It’s an honor to join this woman-owned company and to have the tools and resources again to help bring bikeshare programs (back) to life.
How do you see micro-mobility playing out in the future?
I think we’ll see significant growth in small/medium-sized cities. Micro-mobility will always be an important factor in reducing congestion and creating safer streets, and we’ll continue to see growth in its use for replacing short vehicle trips. But I think we’ll also see a return to many systems catering to recreational use as well - much like we saw in the early days of bikesharing - which reinforces the idea that there really is no one-size-fits-all approach when designing systems for the unique needs of each community. Overall, I think cities large and small are recognizing that shared mobility is an invaluable piece of the transportation network and will prioritize and fund it as such.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m really excited to connect with more communities in need of bikeshare system advising and setup. I know many cities are feeling the pinch of having their programs shut down this spring, and I want to help get them back on track as soon as possible. We are a young company, having just rolled out this summer, yet with our team’s many years of bikeshare system design and operation experience leading up to the launch of Tandem, it really does feel like we’re just hitting the ground running and picking up where Zagster left off, albeit with a more diverse suite of service offerings. It’s a great time to talk bike share, and I look forward to having that conversation with communities near and far.
Interested in learning more about bringing e-mobility to your area? Reach out to us by filling out the form on the bottom of our website.