EU – Baltic States, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 28.05.2020, 00:24

Paris threatening Bolt with scooter ban

BC, Tallinn/Paris, 16.05.2019.Print version
Paris authorities have warned Bolt and other operators of the thousands of electric scooters that have inundated the city to keep them off pavements or face a temporary ban amid rising complaints from pedestrians, reported LETA/BNS according to AFP.

On Monday, the ten competitors who have launched services in Paris all signed a "code of good conduct" with the mayor's office, which says the city is now "saturated" with the devices.

"If self-regulation fails, the only solution is to temporarily outlaw their use while waiting for a new law" on transportation that is set to enacted by the national parliament in July, Jean-Louis Missika, the deputy Paris mayor for urbanism, said.

The companies -- with catchy one-syllable names such as Lime, Bolt, Wind and Flash -- have collectively put 15,000 scooters on the streets in the past few months, causing tensions that have emerged in cities worldwide from Madrid to Los Angeles.

Fans have embraced them as a quick and cheap way to get around, since the "dockless" devices are unlocked with a phone app and can be left anywhere when a ride is finished.

That is exactly the problem, critics say, pointing to scooters strewn across the city's stately squares or abandoned in piles littering narrow sidewalks, to the bane of people hauling groceries or pushing prams.

They have also been used as makeshift weapons by protesters who have hurled them at police during the weekly "yellow vest" protests against President Emmanuel Macron which erupted last November.

Under the new code signed with the city, scooter fleet operators must promise to distribute the devices in "clearly designated and listed" parking areas, and make sure their clients use them.

Most Parisians would be hard pressed to find any such spots currently, though the city said in April that it would build 2,500 scooter parking areas.

Paris has already introduced fines for riding electric scooters on the pavement to 135 euros and will levy 35-euro fines for users who cause an obstruction by parking on a pavement. 

Estonian ride-hailing platform Bolt, then called Taxify, launched the electric scooter rental service in Paris in last September. It made a similar service available in Madrid in April.

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