Canberrans will soon have another option to traverse the city with up to 1,500 dockless electric scooters being introduced under a new share scheme. It is anticipated the e-scooters will be available to hire as early as August 2020.
The e-scooters offer a new alternative for “first mile, last mile” trips to connect residents to public transport hubs, and will be especially useful for tourists around the city and parliamentary triangle, the ACT Government said.
The rollout will begin in Canberra’s inner north and inner south suburbs and will operate in at least one other area as part of the contract with two e-scooter operators that will be issued permits for up to 750 e-scooters each.
“We anticipate that the e-scooters will be popular with tourists, using them to explore Canberra and move between our national and cultural institutions,” the Minister for City Services and Transport, Chris Steel, said.
“We have engaged with the National Capital Authority and the Australian National University so that they can regulate e-scooter share schemes on their land in a similar way to the rest of the city.
“Operators will be expected to manage their e-scooters to ensure that they do not clutter our streetscapes and urban areas, that their fleets are regularly rebalanced, and that they do not block people walking or moving through public spaces.”
After trialling an e-scooter in Brisbane, Kingston Foreshore resident James Adams decided to buy his own for his journey to work in Canberra.
“I work in Civic, and it takes me just over 10 minutes to get there. I used to drive, so I would have to pay for parking and petrol, I would have to battle traffic. But now it is easy, fast and convenient,” he said.
“There is a small learning curve at the very beginning. It probably took me half an hour or so to get used to the controls, but once you get used to it, it is quite easy.
“Anyone can learn how to use an e-scooter no matter how old or young you are.”
For residents who are concerned about the rollout of the e-scooters, Mr Adams says using the new devices are no different from the bikes that are already on our paths.
“Sharing the paths is all about respect,” he said.
“It is just like if you are using a bike on a path: ring your bell in you are going past, slow down if there is a lot of pedestrians – it is all about sharing the path and having e-scooters in the mix does not change those courtesy rules we are all used to.
“You will be able to book an e-scooter through an app and they will be regularly cleaned when they are charged and rebalanced by the two operators, ensuring their cleanliness during the pandemic,” Mr Steel said.
Electric scooters are already legal to use on shared paths and footpaths in the ACT but are not permitted on roads or on-road bicycle lanes. It is also legal to use an e-scooter on shared paths and footpaths in the ACT.
The e-scooters are subject to a maximum speed of 15 km/h on footpaths and up to 25 km/h in all other permitted locations.
The share scheme will also use geofencing technology to ensure they are not taken too far from the city and GPS technology will be used to limit the access of the scooters to restricted areas and parking locations.
Information and upcoming meeting details can be found at Transport Canberra.
Applications to operate the dockless e-scooter scheme will be open from 20 July until 3 August 2020.