Saturday, September 18, 2021

Fraser Coast scoots into trial

Fraser Coast residents and visitors will soon be able to rent electric scooters for short trips around Hervey Bay after Fraser Coast Regional Council approved a six-month commercial trial.

Councillor Daniel Sanderson said e-scooters were becoming popular as an affordable and environmentally friendly mode of transport with commercial operations now in place in cities such as Bundaberg, Brisbane and Townsville.

“Council has approved an application from international share-ride company Bird to operate a commercial e-scooter service in Hervey Bay during a six month trial,” he said.

“We will also request that Maryborough be included as a possible trial location in the future.”

He said that while Bird has sites in cities around the world, Hervey Bay will be their first site in Australia.

“This will be a new business for the Fraser Coast and provide a boost to the local economy as Bird will lease a commercial building and employ five to seven local staff to maintain their fleet of 300 to 400 e-scooters.”

“It will provide a new transport option for tourists and residents, and may encourage more people to spend more time enjoying our pathways and outdoor spaces.”

The motorised scooters can be unlocked using a mobile device and, for a fee, users ride to their desired location, park the scooter and end their trip.

The e-scooters are managed through computer programming and are “geofenced”, which ensures the devices are speed limited and cannot be taken outside of the designated areas.

The e-scooters will be limited to 25kmph in most areas and 10kmph in highly populated places such as around the Urangan Pier, the Esplanade at Torquay and Scarness, the All Abilities Playground and WetSide.

Cr Sanderson said the use of personal mobility devices such as e-scooters are governed by Queensland road rules which can be enforced by the Queensland Police Service.

“Whether you are walking, riding a bike, driving a car or using an e-scooter in a shared space, it’s important that we all abide by the rules and be respectful towards each other,” he said.

Council recently started the process to amend local laws to allow the use of e-scooters on local footpaths, which is expected to take a further four to six weeks.

The six-month trial will start once this process is complete and a report will be provided back to Council in early 2022 on the outcomes of the trial.

“We are honoured to partner with Fraser Coast Regional Council in Hervey Bay to offer residents and visitors safe and sustainable transportation that aims to decrease the use of private motor vehicles for visitors and residents,” said Brian Bucella, Senior Vice President of Government Partnerships and Policy at Bird.

“By working together, we will not only help spur a mode shift that is critical for a sustainable future but also create new economic opportunities for the local community.”

As part of its launch in Hervey Bay, Bird will offer the following:

  • The World’s Most Eco-Conscious Scooter – Hervey Bay will be one of the first cities to provide riders the new Bird Three e-scooter. The new custom designed and engineered vehicle offers a robust suite of sustainability, safety and smart technologies to provide a superior ride experience while adhering to geozones and other city requirements.
     
  • Engineered Helmet Solution – Bird in Hervey Bay will also offer exclusive and specially designed helmets locked on every vehicle for individuals to use during their ride.
     
  • A Natural Way to Socially Distance – Riders everywhere are Birding to run errands, get to work, or just for a break, and finding it is a natural way to safely socially distance.
     
  • Bird Beginner Mode – Great for new riders or those who just want to cruise, this feature offers a gentle acceleration mode that helps riders feel comfortable and build confidence.
     
  • Community Pricing – Bird’s Community Pricing Program offers a 50% discount to low-income riders, selected local nonprofit and community organisations, veterans and seniors. It’s designed to be the most inclusive micromobility discount program available anywhere. To sign up for Bird’s Community Pricing Program, download the Bird app, create an account and email your proof of eligibility to access@bird.co
     
  • Community Mode – Anyone in the community can provide feedback on parking and damaged scooters to the local team helping improve local operations through in-app feature Community Mode.
     

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