A Conversation with Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Meital Lehavi

Bird works closely with cities around the world, to incorporate micro-mobility into their current infrastructure while helping to plan for a future city that can better meet the needs of residents riding electric and sustainable vehicles. 

We recently caught up with Mrs. Meital Lehavi, who has served as Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo since 2015, to hear about how she’s worked to integrate shared e-scooters into Tel Aviv’s transportation landscape, and what she envisions for the future. In her role, Mrs. Lehavi is in charge of transportation, construction, and infrastructure. Lehavi promotes micro-mobility and the use of alternative means of transportation that will reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in Tel Aviv.

This interview has been translated from Hebrew and edited for clarity and length.

How do you see the future of Micro-mobility in Tel Aviv?  

Micro-mobility is part of our vision of transitioning to green alternative transportation as it helps reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Even more so, shared micro-mobility decreases the need for car ownership and enables mobility as a service. 

Tel Aviv recently formalized their micro-mobility program, including guardrails for the numbers of scooters and operators. What are these parameters and how did you decide on them? 

 [We decided on 2,500 scooters for each operator] after looking at the average number of vehicles that micro-mobility companies were operating in the city. It’s a starting number that can be increased, as long as the company requesting the increase can provide metrics showing high utilization of the e-scooters they operate.

 We understand that every 3 months you are going to examine and allow additional e-scooters in correlation with utilization. How did you decide on that? 

Since operators are required to provide us with data, we’ll not only be able to understand the usage patterns of shared e-scooters, where people are riding, the average length of a ride, etc. but also precisely assess the average utilization of these vehicles. Our intent is to enable these initiatives in the city, as long as they are being utilized and they don’t just take up room in the public space.  

How do you see the demand for shared e-scooters in Tel Aviv? And how do you think it will look in 2020? 

[In 2020, I expect demand in Tel Aviv will be for] shared and green transportation. Today micro-mobility is part of an evolving global trend, which we need to encourage in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, over driving a private car. Today, micro-mobility trips comprise 10% of all the miles traveled in Tel Aviv and the goal is that by 2025, over 25% will be done through micro-mobility. To achieve that goal, shared mobility needs advantages and support, as it reduces the ownership of vehicles and provides mobility as a service. 

Bird was the first shared e-scooter company to enter Tel Aviv. How do you see the contribution of the company in the city and the commuting inside it?

Since Bird was the first micro-mobility company to enter Tel Aviv, it captured market share accordingly, and the better their service is, the more they will grow the user base, and as long as it continues to follow the permit terms, it will get a seal and continue to flourish in the city of Tel Aviv. 

Thank you, Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo!