Offers full support to put into practical use a new shared mobility service that will accelerate Fukuoka’s transformation to a “Smart City.”
LINE Fukuoka Corporation (Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Noritaka Ochiai) is pleased to announce that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with e-scooter sharing service operator mobby ride Inc. (Location: Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City; Representative Director: Makoto Hyuga) for mutual business support in the Fukuoka area.
With ”mobby,” users can lock and unlock e-scooters with the LINE account they use every day. Based on their MOU, LINE Fukuoka and mobby ride will move forward with testing aimed at bringing e-scooters onto public roads in the future by supporting user activation measures that utilize a LINE official account. We hope to make Fukuoka a “Smart City” where people can enjoyably travel short distances or the gap between their stop/station and their final destination on a day-to-day basis.
■ About “mobby”
E-scooters are drawing attention in the U.S. and Europe as a new means of mobility (vehicle/mode of transport). mobby ride plans to expand “mobby” (its e-scooter sharing service that lets users rent scooters only when they want to use them) throughout Japan.
Currently, e-scooters are categorized as motorized bicycles under Japanese law. This means users need to have a driver’s license to drive e-scooters on public roads, as well as comply with various safety standards (such as getting a license plate and installing indicators). All of this has made it difficult to use e-scooters as an easy mode of transport, which is their original purpose.
With approval from the regulatory sandbox system¹, a full-scale verification test of “mobby” e-scooter use on Kyushu University’s Ito Campus will start from November 1. Based on the data obtained from the test, mobby ride plans to work on developing a system to make e-scooters more readily available to users in Japan.
¹ Regulatory sandbox system (only available in Japanese): When existing regulations make the implementation of new business models difficult, this system allows operators to submit an application to the government’s regulatory agency. Upon approval, operators can conduct tests and use the information and data they obtain to update the regulations so that new technologies and business models can be implemented in society.
■ How to rent/return e-scooters with “mobby”
To rent an e-scooter:
1. Add mobby’s official LINE account as a friend on LINE.
2. After signing up for a mobby account, scan the QR code to unlock the e-scooter.
To return an e-scooter:
1. On the chat screen, tap on the “Return here” (返却はこちらから) button.
2. On the next screen, tap the “Return” (返却) button to lock the scooter.
■ About our MOU
LINE Fukuoka will provide support to mobby ride through e-scooter verification testing and business expansion in the Fukuoka area by introducing places that want to integrate a shared e-scooter service and supporting user activation measures that utilize a LINE official account.
In turn, mobby ride will contribute to LINE group’s business developments by using a LINE official account in its service provision, as well as LINE Pay when ”mobby” becomes a paid service.
■ What this collaboration aims to achieve:A future where people can visit many places more easily
Through undertakings based on their comprehensive partnership agreement, the LINE Group and Fukuoka City are aiming for future-oriented urban development that leverages LINE’s technology to make Fukuoka even more abundant and convenient (a “Smart City”).
We believe that co-creation with other companies and organizations is essential to achieving a “Smart City,” and have already collaborated in various ways, including linking LINE’s powerful user platform to other companies’ technologies, and helping them expand their activities in Fukuoka.
For example, i-Kasa (an umbrella-sharing service that lets users rent an umbrella with LINE and pay for it with LINE Pay) launched in Fukuoka City in May 2019. LINE supported i-Kasa by introducing locations where umbrella pickup/drop-off stands could be installed and did joint promotions, achieving the following results:
・Fukuoka’s circulation rate (or number of umbrellas used/the numbers available) became triple that of Tokyo.
・As of October 2019, Seinan Gakuin University (introduced as an umbrella pickup/drop-off location) has become the most used umbrella hub in Japan.
Note: Based on this achievement, stronger efforts are being made to expand the service to other universities, contributing to more overall users of i-Kasa.
Through our collaboration with mobby ride, we hope to accelerate the move toward a future where both residents of (and tourists to) Fukuoka can travel to various places throughout the city more easily, conveniently, and enjoyably. We aim to achieve this by pursuing the practical introduction of e-scooters onto public roads, adding an optimal mode of transportation specifically for the gap between users’ stop/station and their final destination.
Going forward, the LINE Group will realize its “Life on LINE” vision (in which it will pursue “WOW” by becoming a “life infrastructure” that leverages lifestyle innovations to support all aspects of users’ lives 24/7) by collaborating with various companies and organizations, accelerating Fukuoka’s transformation into a “Smart City.”
At Kyushu University (where verification testing of “mobby” will take place), the LINE Group has been holding hackathons and special lectures to achieve “smart campus life.” In September 2019, we created two LINE official accounts with Kyushu University students and faculty to resolve inconveniences on campus.²
We hope that verification testing of “mobby” will make campus life with LINE more convenient than ever, and that Kyushu University will embody the “Smart City” concept in the higher academic field.