Dutch startup Kiwi announced on its Instagram page that it has rolled out the rental of electric scooters in Kyiv on Sept. 13, only a month after the Estonian transportation company Bolt began to offer analogous services to Kyiv’s commuters.
Kiwi’s headquarters are located in Odesa, but the company itself belongs to Dutch innovative technology startup developer Extra Watts. So far, Kiwi operates only in Ukraine and their projects are mostly based on the rental of scooters.
In anticipation of a summer filled with tourism and outdoor recreation, Kiwi’s first scooters appeared in Odesa in early March. The company was expected to expand into Kyiv shortly after, but the process was allegedly stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kiwi’s office in Ukraine did not respond to Kyiv Post’s request for comment.
Today you can find Kiwi’s electric scooters scattered around the center of Kyiv – Independence Square, Khreshchatyk Street, next to the Golden Gates of Kyiv and Bessarabska Square.
Kiwi says that it plans to enter more cities with more types of vehicles, according to its website.
As with most other rental vehicles, to start their ride a user has to open the Kiwi mobile app, available for Android and IOS devices, and scan the QR code located on the scooter. Similarly to Bolt, a map appears in order to help locate available scooters. The map is divided into three zones: green, yellow and a deadzone. Customers can drive the scooters in green and yellow zones, but are obliged to park them only in the green zone.
The app also introduces the Kiwi Wallet, or a balance account, where the users have to purchase a payment plan before their ride. The available packages vary from Hr 200 to Hr 1,000.
Although from a distance one can’t really tell the difference between the two lime green scooters of Kiwi and Bolt, Kiwi’s services are cheaper than Bolt’s. According to the Kiwi app, it costs Hr 15 to unlock the scooter followed by a Hr 2.5 per minute fee.
Back in August, Taras Potichnyi, country manager at Bolt Ukraine, told the Kyiv Post that Bolt would review its prices when other companies appear in Kyiv. This seems to hold true today, as the new tariff per minute has been dropped from Hr 4.9 to Hr. 2.9, with the activation fee remaining untouched at Hr 29.
Bolt and Kiwi advertise the electric scooter as an environmentally-friendly alternative to urban transportation.
Back when Bolt first launched its e-scooters in August, the Estonian startup faced backlash from Kyiv’s Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko over the lack of regulations for “micro transport” vehicles like electric scooters. However, the two sides have managed to come up with a plan that would create legal conditions for electric scooters and similar vehicles while Bolt’s scooters would continue to operate in test mode until the end of this fall season.
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