Tuesday, March 5, 2024

E-scooters get green light in Hobart

City of Hobart Councillors last night voted to continue hire-and-ride e-scooter services under a license arrangement.

Lord Mayor, Anna Reynolds said the continuation recommendation was passed with amendments that will see future e-scooter licence fees invested into shared on-street parking stations and transit lanes for bicycles, e-bikes and e-scooters.

She will also write to the Tasmanian Government to call for the urgent construction of suitable lanes and better enforcement rules.

“City of Hobart officers will develop licence conditions for e-scooter operators that take into account the findings of the hire and ride e-scooter trial with particular emphasis on reducing footpath obstruction. These conditions will be considered by Council at a subsequent meeting prior to their implementation,” said Lord Mayor Reynolds.

She said trial data revealed that the City’s objectives to reduce inner city congestion, parking demand and improve connectivity through providing an alternative transport option had been met.

The trial was introduced following changes by the State Parliament to the Traffic Act in December 2021 allowing the use of e-scooters on most Tasmanian roads and pathways.

The Lord Mayor said last night’s vote followed extensive community consultation and evaluation of the trial, which found that well-managed operators improve the connectivity and use of sustainable transport options in the City.

City Mobility Portfolio Chair, Councillor Ryan Posselt said electric scooters provided a compact, convenient, and environmentally friendly transport option.

“More than 20% of car journeys in some of our most congested suburbs are travelling within the same suburb, with many trips under 1km, which makes e-scooters a perfect alternative,” Cr Posselt said.

“There were more than 604,516 rides taken on e-scooters during the trial. The data shows that more than half of these replaced car travel – that’s 66 tonnes of CO2 averted from our atmosphere.

“The more alternatives we can provide to single occupant cars, the more we can reduce congestion on our roads, free up parking spots and head towards zero emissions.

“Like any mode of transport, there are safety and amenity issues that require careful management and ongoing community education. Tonight’s decision enables the city to ensure hire scooters are managed to the satisfaction and for the benefit of the whole community.”

“The decision to maintain hire-and-ride services in the municipality is underpinned by a commitment to keep engaging with the community around safety, parking and other infrastructure improvements.”

He said the use of private e-scooters continued to grow in popularity not just in Hobart but across the state.

“By providing oversight of hire-and-ride services, the city has been able to implement and enforce safety measures such as the use of geofencing to limit their speed and restrict where and when they can be used, and ensuring operators issue fines, suspensions and bans to people doing the wrong thing.”

“The use of e-scooters will continue be closely monitored by the city, so we can keep making improvements.

“While I acknowledge that some people still have valid concerns, particularly around parking concerns, and there is more work to be done to continue making them safer for the whole community, the majority of feedback has been positive. For some people the introduction of e-scooters has been life changing.”

In response to community feedback, Council is rolling out marked e-scooter parking bays throughout Hobart to support safe, orderly and responsible e-scooter parking.

The current trial arrangements will remain in place until 23 June 2023 while a new service arrangement is developed for hire-and-ride operators, Council said in a statement.

Details about the e-scooter trial evaluation and the community survey results can be found on the on the City’s e-scooter web page (including an accessible version).

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