The AITPM’s Queensland newsletter representative, David Sulejic, sent in a link to a well-researched article in The Conversation about the introduction of Lime rent-a-scooters into Brisbane. The article was written By Benjamin Kaufman, Griffith University and Matthew Burke, Griffith University.
Here are a few reflections and quotes from the article.
Could we stop them if we wanted to?
As planners we often recommend what is the right thing to do, but technical assessment is not the only criterion and it is hard to determine just how disruptive technologies will be used. The article said:
“Transport disruption makes life difficult for policymakers and transport agencies. Queensland at first attempted to deter illegal ride-sharing but then legalised Uber and Ola in response to public demand. Scooter-sharing systems might be just as transformative for people’s travel."
“Previously, North American cities, such as San Francisco and Washington DC, were inundated with scooters. In response, some cities banned scooters outright, others used regulations to control the new players."
Are they being used?
“Thousands of residents and tourists are using the scooters in Brisbane each day. Our sources tell us over 100,000 users have made over 300,000 trips since the mid-November launch."
(The article was published on 24 January 2019)
Are scooter riders adversely affecting pedestrians?
“Our observations this last couple of months suggest user behaviour has changed. Some unruly behaviours we saw in the first few days seem have given way to new social norms."
"Suggestions for improvements
There is no need for scooters in Australian cities that have more power or go faster than the current Lime scooters. The decision to choose 25km/h seems appropriate at present. Restricting speeds to 10km/h, as previous laws did in Queensland, would be nonsensical.
Scooter systems are likely a natural monopoly, or perhaps duopoly.
We recommend scooter parking locations be designated in key locations.
Cities should enter into meaningful partnerships with scooter companies that include data sharing for research and analysis of overall city transportation
These scooters need to be part of the coming move towards subscription mobility services.:
Apparently, there is a strong push to encourage new forms of technologies. The National Transport commission is to investigate “Barriers to the safe use of innovative vehicles and motorised mobility devices”.
In a press release, NTC Acting Chief Executive, Graham Giannini, said current regulations do not allow the use of innovative vehicles such as electric scooters, skateboards and unicycles on public roads and footpaths.
“Commuters want alternative forms of transport, yet we don’t have a national framework to accommodate new and emerging vehicles and devices,” Mr Giannini said.