Love them or detest them, electric scooters have change into a part of the landscape across many big European cities.
For many who ride them, they’ll prove incredibly useful; when the subway is packed or the buses are stuck in rush-hour traffic, they will be the last-minute option that miraculously gets them to work and to appointments on time.
But for a lot of, the devices are a scourge that may clutter pavements, find yourself at the underside of a river, or worse, cause deadly accidents.
This month, the deputy mayor of Paris, David Belliard called shared e-scooters “very cumbersome, accident-prone and anti-environmental” and his Green party even called for them to be banned from town when the operators’ contract expires in February 2023.
Now these operators – Dott, TIER and Lime – are fighting back and joining forces to make the case that the 15,000 e-scooters they manage will not be guilty for all of the evils in town.
They’ve presented a bunch of knowledge to the Paris mayor’s office to argue not only that e-scooters have change into a significant transportation mode within the capital, but in addition that they’re being enriched with technology ensuring they don’t exceed speed limits and are parked in the best places.
“We’re getting used and we’re useful. Now loads of things must be improved, and that is what we’re working on,” Nicolas Gorse, Regional General Manager for Dott in France, told Euronews Next.
“We’ve got, along with the opposite operators, presented ambitious proposals. They’re currently being examined by town of Paris and will likely be discussed during an upcoming meeting,” said a spokesperson for TIER.
Free-floating e-scooters have been utilized by over 450,000 people in Paris in September alone, based on data compiled by the three operators and shared with Euronews Next.
That amounts to 1 trip every 4 seconds, and operators say they’ve recently seen an uptick in use since strikes at France’s oil refineries have made it difficult for a lot of motorists to seek out gas.
A recent Ipsos survey commissioned by Dott, Lime and TIER found that 88 per cent of Parisians considered e-scooters a part of each day transport. It showed greater than half of Parisians had already used an e-scooter, including the overwhelming majority of those aged 18-34 (82 per cent).
Geofencing, sensors and ID checks
Operators say that 96 per cent of the devices at the moment are parked where they needs to be – and never getting in the best way of pedestrians by lying haphazardly on pavements.
That’s mostly because geo-tracking software now prevents users from ending their ride on the app unless they’re inside one in all town’s 2,500 dedicated parking areas.
In parallel, a special patrol tours Paris on daily basis to reposition people who aren’t or have fallen over.
Speed limiters also already prevent e-scooter riders from going beyond 20 km/h and even 10 km/h in areas with loads of pedestrians corresponding to outside schools or shopping centres.
Going forward, Dott says it’s experimenting with sensors to forestall two people from getting onto one e-scooter – a typical sight across cities in France, and one which led to the death of two teenagers when their e-scooter was hit by an ambulance in August in Lyon.
That tragedy led authorities in town to ban e-scooter use for those under 18, forcing operators to require ID checks on their apps before unlocking trips. “This has proved to be efficient and may very well be an idea for Paris,” Gorse said.
‘A really frugal vehicle’
When e-scooters took European cities by storm, there have been numerous reports of them being flimsy, easily broken and discarded within the environment. In Paris, this was typically the bottom of the Seine river.
But that latter scenario is now “extremely rare,” said Gorse. The three operators have been paying for skilled divers to fish e-scooters out of the Seine once a month, “but now there are so few that we’re barely reducing the frequency,” he added.
He explains this by the proven fact that e-scooters today are much heavier than they was once, weighing around 30 kg.
“So, it isn’t such as you’re throwing a ten kg thing into the Seine,” he said.
The second reason is that the GPS tracking onboard the e-scooters prevents riders from parking along the Seine.
In the event that they do, they’re fined, a signal is shipped to the corporate’s patrollers and the device is collected “inside three hours,” Gorse said.
Their greater weight and sturdiness also make e-scooters more durable, operators argue. They estimate that the typical lifespan of an e-scooter today is about five years.
The present generation has already been on the streets of Paris for over three and a half years, each of them raking up around 7,000 km of mileage, Gorse said.
“If you see a scooter, it’s obviously a really frugal vehicle,” he added.
Dott and its peers argue that e-scooters use 10 times less energy than a moped and 100 times lower than an electrical automobile.
A Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Dott, Tier and Lime earlier this 12 months found that if e-scooters were banned in Paris, 35 per cent of users said they’d replace their trips with a private automobile or would use a ride-hailing app like Uber.
Would these riders walk more? Not necessarily, say operators, noting that the typical e-scooter ride in Paris is 3.2 km – which might take over an hour to cover on foot.
They present e-scooters more as a method to relieve public transport through the morning and evening rush hours.
They warn that banning shared e-scooters would most definitely push users towards privately owned e-scooters, that are harder to control.