We are sure that you have already spotted them around, but earlier this year, Melbourne welcomed a fleet of new, neon-coloured electronic scooters to the streets of the city. The program launched on the first of February and is part of a 12-month trial led by Vic Roads in partnership with USA and Singapore based electric transport technology companies, Lime and Neuron. The aim of the trial is to test if the e-scooters can be safely integrated into the community with a view to permanently implement e-scooters as a part of inner Melbourne’s public transport system.

The program has rolled out 1,500 e-scooters across the City of Yarra, Melbourne and Port Phillip local government areas.

From a logistical perspective, the e-scooters can reach speeds of up to 25 kilometres an hour, cannot be ridden on footpaths (only on shared paths and bike lanes) and run on geofencing technology to ensure that they do not exit the selected CBD zones (see map below). The e-scooters are linked to an app where the user pays just 45 cents a minute to ride and once the trip is finished the e-scooter must be returned to an allocated parking spot which can be found dispersed across the city. It is a requirement that all users must wear a helmet to ride the e-scooters.

Some skeptics have raised concerns that this program shares an uncanny resemblance to the O-Bikes (electric bike) fiasco from 2017, where unfortunately most of the O-Bikes ended up in the Yarra River or left in parks.

While most Melbournians, ourselves included, are excited at the prospect of this new speedy little addition to travel around metro Melbourne, early news reports show that there are a small portion of users that are not obeying all road laws and in particular using the scooters on footpaths and being a danger to pedestrians. Furthermore, the e-scooters can also be seen discarded all over the place and there is no evidence that users are even aware of the requirement to return the bikes to the required area/s.

While we welcome any step towards creating a more sustainable and accessible transport system, only time will tell if these e-scooters will become a viable transport option that can be safely incorporated onto the streets of Melbourne.

Source: https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/parking-and-transport...

Source: https://www.timeout.com/melbourne/news/melbourne-is-getting...

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