The Council plans to set up a
Dublin City Council is considering launching a shared electric scooter program in the city and is trying to figure out how that would work.
The council invites companies that might want to set up a “public electric scooter sharing program” to answer questions and help it consider options.
“At this point, what we are actually doing is giving the market technical problems,” Clive Ahern, administrative manager of the council’s transport department, said at a recent transport committee meeting.
Electric scooter operators can send the board their perspective on the multitude of issues in a draft prior information notice (PIN), which it has published to create a formal process rather than having one-on-one talks with some operators and not others, says Ahern.
“We are on a fact-finding mission,” Ahern said. The council could then use the information gathered during a bidding process for the public electric scooter operator, he said.
However, there would first need to be national legislation on electric scooters on public roads and on any shared programs, Ahern told advisers, which has yet to be released but has been promised.
Regulations should be in place before the council issues a tender, Ahern said. They would be similar to the regulations put in place for bike sharing in 2017, he says.
Following the legislation, the council would at least offer a license to operate a system in the city, according to the council report.
The idea of Dockless
One issue the board is considering, the PIN shows, is what type of parking should be allowed for electric scooters: leave them anywhere, or leave them at specific stations or docks.
Declan Meenagh, a visually impaired Labor Party adviser, said he was disappointed the PIN left open the idea of stationless scooters and should be changed to only consider scooters that would be parked at stations.
“Scooters, by design, are complete tripping hazards. And the idea that we can operate a virtual restriction or any kind of scooter without a station is unacceptable, ”he said.
Green Party adviser Donna Cooney said she thinks docks are a good idea, but the use of docks connects electric scooters in some places.
“The good thing about, say, something like BleeperBikes is that you can go somewhere else and then take a bus and then some other kind of transportation,” she said.
She asked if stationless electric scooters could be allowed in such a way that people would be penalized somehow if they unreasonably left them – that they would have to pay something.
Carolyn Moore, a Green Party adviser, said she agreed that in other European cities electric scooters strewn on the streets were a problem, especially for people with disabilities.
However, all electric scooter programs must be spread evenly across the city, she said.
“I would be concerned about black spots or areas where this type of program would not be extended,” says Moore, “because of the same issues that are preventing, I guess, the expansion of DublinBikes. “
Ahern, the head of the board, said that at the moment the PIN shows the board leans heavily towards the idea that people should lock scooters.
“This is one of the reasons to get into the industry. We ask them if they have the capacity? he says.
There may be dedicated electric scooter stations in the city center, the council says in its PIN, and elsewhere the scooters may need to be locked to fixed structures.
Scooters must be locked to stationary objects, said Hugh Cooney, founder of BleeperBike, a Dublin self-service bicycle company that plans to launch electric scooters.
“If scooters are very popular, it will probably be necessary to build more fixed locations to which the scooters will be attached,” he says.
The padlocks are attached to a bracket on the scooter rod, which could then be locked onto a regular bike rack, he says.
When scooters can be parked “loose,” without being locked, they are geo-fenced, Ahern says, which means a GPS signal tells the rider where they can or cannot park the scooter. This can lead to tripping hazards, he says.
Painting an area on the floor where scooters can be parked can make it clearer, says Charlie Gleeson, founder of Zipp Mobility, which operates electric scooters in England.
Called a “virtual parking base,” the user will be charged until they park their scooter within limits, he says.
It’s a balance between physical infrastructure and no at all, Gleeson says. “If we see a change in demand in some areas, we can just paint more berries there. “
Among the questions the council is asking operators to comment on is how they would make sure electric scooters don’t distract people from walking, cycling or public transportation.
Janet Horner, the Green Party adviser, said one of the things she would like to hear in the technical dialogue is proof that operators can present around this modal shift.
“And making sure not to stop people from walking on scooters, but to get people out of cars and scooters as best they can,” she said.
The introduction of electric scooters could help reduce the number of cars in the city center, said Richard Guiney, CEO of DublinTown, which represents downtown businesses.
“There is an opportunity in terms of micro-mobility, in particular around commuting,” he said.
The council will ask operators how the movement of people who are active users of mobility, such as walking or cycling, will be thwarted, Ahern said. “We are very aware of this. “