E-scooters can be booked on Free Now app in DCU trial

1 Sep 2021

Fred Jones and Niall Carson. Image: Conor McCabe/Conor McCabe Photography

E-scooters on trial across DCU’s five campuses can now be reserved through the popular mobility app.

German ride-hailing company Free Now has partnered with Tier Mobility to support Ireland’s first e-scooter trial.

The trial, which began in July, is being rolled out across five Dublin City University (DCU) campuses. The data gleaned from the trial will inform city authorities on how best to facilitate safe e-scooter use once Government legislation passes in Ireland.

As part of the trial, which runs until early next year, people can book one of Tier’s e-scooters through the Free Now app.

Commenting on the DCU pilot partnership, Niall Carson general manager of Free Now Ireland, said his company was delighted to support the e-scooter pilot.

“This scheme will positively contribute to the safety standards for e-scooter usage in Ireland and we hope it will support the Government’s roll-out of legislation in the coming months – enabling people across the country to avail of safe, sustainable and convenient micro-mobility rental,” Carson said.

Free Now’s collaboration with Tier is part of its larger partnership with the e-scooter company across Europe. People from Germany, France, the UK, Poland and Austria can hail one of Tier’s e-scooters through the app since March of this year. Tier already serves over 130 cities in Europe and the Middle East including London, Paris, Berlin and Dubai.

Founded in 2018, its investors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital, White Star Capital, Novator, RTP Global and Speedinvest.

Fred Jones, Tier’s Northern Europe general manager, commented: “Our research trial at DCU brings Tier together with a range of brilliant partners to ensure Ireland’s first e-scooter scheme is not only a success but a valuable learning opportunity for cities exploring the future of micro-mobility. By adding the trusted and popular Free Now app to that mix we can take the trial multimodal and generate more compelling insights.”

As of yet, there are still no concrete plans for e-scooter legislation to be finalised. Many e-scooter companies are currently eyeing the Irish market for when the vehicles are eventually made legal. Europe has seen several pilots and schemes similar to the DCU one over the past few weeks and months. Recently, Irish e-scooter start-up Zeus added Italy to its list of European locations.

Today (1 September) saw Dutch e-bike brand VanMoof announced it had raised $128m in funding to help secure its place as one of the biggest e-bike providers in cities across the world.

The Series C minority investment was raised in a funding round led by Asia-based private equity firm Hillhouse Investment.

Overall, VanMoof has raised a total of $182m in less than two years, It has grown its reach from eight to 50 locations worldwide over the last year, with sales of their e-bikes more than tripling in 2020. The e-bike brand is well-established in Europe since its founding in 2009. It now hopes to capitalise on the US market, which is its fastest growing currently.

Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.