Zurich seems to be the European testing ground for operators of free floating electric rental scooters. Since Lime brought the first electric scooters to the city in 2018 (after it flooded Zurich with its bikes in 2017), several other companies such as Bird, Tier and Flash (now rebranded as Circ) have entered the market, so a scooter is now available on nearly every street corner.
Update Nov 28, 2019: This website displays the location of all available scooters and rental bikes from all the operators (except lime) on a map in real time: https://shared-mobility.ethz.ch/livemap
Update Sept 4, 2019: Lime scooters are back on Zurich’s streets.
And, to be honest, we have to say that these electric scooters are fun to ride and the rental systems are so easy that it’ s no wonder that the famously tech-friendly Zurchers love them. Here’s how it works. Simply download the respective app, sign up with your phone number and/or email address, enter your credit card details and you’re all set. The app guides you to the closest scooter and then you unlock it by either scanning a QR code or by pressing a button in the app. Then simply hop on, accelerate with your foot for a few steps and then press the acceleration lever on the right side of the handlebar. Slow down with the break on the left side (sometimes there are breaks on both sides) or you can also step on the fender on the back of your scooter on some models.
“The use of sidewalks is off limits, but no one seems to care.”
Scooters can reach speeds of up to 20kph, which is quite fast enough (believe us). You’re required to ride on the streets or to use bike lanes as sidewalks are officially off limits, but no one seems to care. Operators recommend that you use a helmet (but, once again, most people ignore this advice) and that you ride carefully. When you’re finished, simply park it as you would a bike (don’t block sidewalks) and make sure to end the ride in the app.
The scooters usually charge a CHF 1 unlocking fee and then you pay CHF 0.25 – 0.35 per minute, so it’s not that cheap, especially if you use it regularly. (Bird is currently the most expensive option, but prices are subject to change and have been amended quickly in the past).
How about buying an electric scooter? Check out this great offer.
We found that all of the scooters work similarly, although the ones from Flash (now rebranded as Circ) are perhaps a little more sophisticated with suspension and a mobile phone holder, so you can use it to navigate. Bird scooters are the smallest, and the easiest to handle, but maybe a little less robust. Lime has restarted its service in Zurich on September 4 with all new scooters.
In any event, we definitely recommend you give it a try and explore the city of Zurich on one of these scooters.
Check out more detailed information about each of the scooter operators by clicking on this link.