Paris votes overwhelmingly to ban shared e-scooters

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In a significant blow to shared micromobility firms Lime, Dott and Tier, Paris has voted to ban rental e-scooters from their streets. Many within the trade worry the transfer in Paris, the place free-floating scooters initially took off in 2018, may have ripple results in different cities.

Paris has been one of the closely regulated e-scooter markets, one thing firms have pointed to for instance of how they will play good with cities. But regardless of limiting scooter prime speeds to as gradual as 10 kilometers per hour (about 6 miles per hour) and requiring riders to make use of devoted parking areas or pay fines, Paris has grow to be the primary metropolis to fully reverse its coverage on providing contracts to shared micromobility firms.

In a referendum Sunday organized by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Paris residents voted 89% towards preserving shared e-scooters within the metropolis. The three firms that pay for contracts to function within the Metropolis of Gentle should pull their fleets — a complete of 15,000 e-scooters — out of the town by September 1.

Hidalgo, who initially welcomed shared e-scooters to Paris, has pushed for Paris to grow to be a extra livable 15-minute metropolis and has spearheaded insurance policies that reclaim parking spots from automobiles to create new bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly areas. Nonetheless, shared scooters have gotten numerous pushback from many metropolis residents who usually complain about reckless driving and litter on sidewalks.

Hidalgo mentioned Sunday that scooters are the reason for numerous accidents and that the enterprise mannequin was too costly to be sustainable, with a ten minute experience costing about €5. She additionally mentioned free-floating scooters aren’t as local weather pleasant as she’d need. In the beginning of the yr, TechCrunch deep dived into scooter usage in Paris, and located via quite a lot of research that whereas e-scooters are extremely fashionable, they principally change strolling or public transit, slightly than automobile utilization.

That doesn’t imply they didn’t change any automobile journeys. One study from 2019 discovered 7% of kilometers coated by scooters change automobile and private taxi journeys, a quantity that has probably grown through the years. However 7% shouldn’t be nothing, says Hélène Chartier, director of city planning at C40, a worldwide community of mayors taking pressing local weather change motion. Chartier beforehand served as an advisor to Hidalgo.

“As a part of a mobility package deal that Paris would supply as an alternative choice to automobiles, [shared e-scooters] may have been an choice,” mentioned Chartier. “With out all the different issues, they might have mentioned, Okay why not? However should you add the accidents, should you add the problem on the general public area, sooner or later you might want to say this isn’t the principle resolution. We must always make investments extra in bikes, e-bikes, strolling.”

Low voter turnout

David Zipper, a visiting fellow on the Harvard Kennedy Faculty’s Taubman Heart for State and Native Authorities, tweeted that he wasn’t shocked to see Paris vote towards shared e-scooters, however he didn’t anticipate such a big margin. That sentiment has been mirrored by scooter advocates and the businesses themselves.

Dott, Lime and Tier mentioned in a joint assertion that the low voter turnout affected the outcomes of the referendum. Solely 103,084 folks turned out to vote, which is about 7.5% of registered Paris voters. They blamed restrictive guidelines, a restricted variety of polling stations (and thus lengthy strains that dissuade younger voters) and no digital voting, saying the mixture “closely skewed towards order age teams, which has widened the hole between professionals and cons.”

Moreover, the businesses mentioned the referendum was held the identical day of the Paris marathon, and that solely Paris residents have been allowed to vote, leaving out those that reside simply outdoors the town however commute in.

The operators supplied free rides to prospects who voted Sunday and relied on social media influencers to attempt to get younger customers to vote, efforts that appear to have gone in useless. Parisians reported there have been a excessive proportion of older voters within the queues.

The referendum isn’t binding, so Hidalgo can nonetheless make the unlikely resolution to maintain scooters within the metropolis based mostly on the low voter turnout. The numbers clearly present that scooters are fashionable. Lime has beforehand advised TechCrunch that 90% of its fleet in Paris is used on a regular basis. In 2021, over 1.2 million scooter riders, 85% of whom have been Parisian residents, took a complete of 10 million rides throughout Lime, Dott and Tier. That’s round 27,000 rides per day.

The ban is not going to impact the e-bikes supplied by shared micromobility firms, which can stay within the metropolis. Equally privately owned scooters are usually not affected by the ban, of which 700,000 have been offered in France final yr, in response to transport ministry figures.

Micromobility in limbo: Takeaways from Paris and LA

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