If you are staying in Barcelona for a few months, or have moved there permanently (great decision!), you probably know that transportation options abound. You have the metro, bicycles, buses and of course, you can always opt to walk around.
However, Barcelona is also the city with the biggest density of scooters in Europe. You’ll hear and see them everywhere. They are definitely the fastest way to get around town, so I was really happy when scooter sharing apps started appearing recently. Moreover, there are now various ways to use a car without actually owning one.
In this post, I will share my experience with the two leading scooter sharing apps, as well as the car sharing platforms. Not everyone likes riding scooters, and sometimes it’s just necessary to use a car (baby in tow anyone?).
Alright, let’s start from the scooters. There are two major platforms you can use: eCooltra and Yugo.
eCooltra is an app with the largest fleet of electric scooters per minute in Europe, with more than 1000 scooters available. eCooltra was the first on the market and has the largest coverage of Barcelona. They have electric scooters which are absolutely silent and super easy to drive.
Pricing is 0.24€/minute with an insurance excess of 500€ or 0.29€ with an insurance excess of 99€. You can choose which tariff you want to use from your user account once logged in.
The downside is that they are quite underpowered, especially with two people on board and going uphill. I would say it borders on being dangerous as the acceleration is way too low, it makes it hard to keep the balance when doing a stop and go on an uphill road. Apart from this, it’s a good service and I haven’t had any problems using it. On each scooter you have 2 helmets, sizes M and L. It might be a good idea to keep a head cover of some sort so that your hair is not directly in touch with the helmet, which would have been used by thousands of others. It’s not the most hygienic thing to do really, and that’s another downside of using a scooter sharing service, unless you have your own helmet and don’t mind carrying it around with you.
You are fully covered by the insurance for damages against third parties. For damages caused to the scooter, or theft of the scooter, the insurance reduces the amount to be paid to an excess – in a case of compliance with the rental agreement. There is also the possibility to get an excess reduction for your scooter insurance.
The insurance which is already included in the rental price covers third party damages. Additionally, it is also included road assistance inside specific radius outside the shop. The damages on the scooter or theft are covered with the excess of 500€. All the accessories (helmets, top case, GPS, gloves, lock etc.) are not covered with insurance and are paid apart in case of loss or damage. If you have an accident while driving, the insurance covers your hospitalisation and that of the passenger, if need be.
Overall I like the service and wish that all scooters were electric. Barcelona is a very noisy city and non-electric scooters and motorcycles are a major noise pollutant.
Yugo is a newer entry in Barcelona. They are doing very well and the number of scooters is always on the increase. Their web and mobile interfaces are modern and easy to use, and I would say they are better in this regard than eCooltra.
Before we move onto car sharing, I would like to point out that the two biggest advantages, apart from price, of renting a scooter versus a car are:
- Faster to get around town.
- Can be left at your destination without a requirement to return them to their original location.
Bluemove is a newer competitor to Avancar, they work in a very similar way. Bluemove’s interface is way better than that of Avancar. Pricing is pretty similar. In this example, I searched for a car that I could use to go for a padel match in a part of Barcelona that is not very well connected for me to go by public transport. For a four-hour trip duration and 16km of driving distance the calculated cost is 14.50 Euro.
Bluemove has two types of memberships. The first is free and the second is 5 Euro per month (annual payment, 6.90 Euro if you do monthly payments). With the monthly payment, you get cheaper hourly and daily prices, and I would definitely recommend it if you are going to be using Bluemove a few times every month.
Avancar is a subsidiary of the worldwide car-sharing company Zipcar. IIts interface is looking very dated both on mobile and through the browser. They do have a large selection of vehicles including vans and electric cars. You will see them all over Barcelona as they were the first to open shop and are well established. Strangely and inconveniently, Avancar only allows you to make a time selection based on half-hour blocks. Therefore if I wanted a car at 17:15 I would either have to resort to 17:00 or 17:30 because Avancar does not allow me to select 17:15. This is not a problem with Bluemove.
Avancar has three pricing plans that you need to choose from. The main criteria will be whether you will use Avancar very occasionally (choose Light) or whether you will use it a few times a month (Smart) or whether you will use Avancar very frequently (Star). The Star plan is ideal for example for people who need to move around the city for attending meetings. Avancar’s cars come with 80km of driving distance included with each rental. Extra kilometers cost between 0.15 Euro and 0.25 Euro depending on which plan you’re on and which vehicle you choose. The only exception is the smallest car (Hyundai i10 or similar) in which case you need to pay 0.20 Euro per kilometer. Avancar also has daily pricing, just like Bluemove.
My favorite car sharing system so far is Bluemove, although Avancar is probably cheaper if you are doing longer trips. On the scooter side it’s definitely Yugo, due to eCooltra being underpowered.
What are your thoughts and favorites?