Tasmanian Cities to Keep E-Scooter Share Services

Hobart & Launceston, Tasmania

E-Scooter share services are set to become permanent fixtures in Hobart and Launceston, with the local councils of both Tasmanian cities last week endorsing recommendations for ongoing services.

City of Hobart council voted to offer licences for ongoing hire and ride services in the city, with conditions for the licence to be informed by the trial which concluded last December. The decision follows a 12-month joint trial conducted in partnership with City of Launceston and service operators Beam and Neuron.

The elected members’ decision included some amendments to the staff recommendation, such as a requirement for future e-scooter licence fees to be invested into shared on-street parking stations and transit lanes for bicycles, e-bikes and e-scooters.

In addition, the Hobart Lord Mayor will write to the Tasmanian Government to call for the urgent construction of suitable lanes and better enforcement of scooter use.

“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” Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds says in a statement from the council.

Mission Accomplished

Data presented to the Hobart council shows the trial was successful in achieving its objectives to reduce inner city congestion and parking demand, and improve connectivity by providing an alternative transport option.

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

According to the statement, the council decision 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”.

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.

City Mobility Portfolio Chair Cr Ryan Posselt said more than 604,516 rides were 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,” he said.

“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.

“The use of private e-scooters continues 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.

“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, the 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.

Launceston Just a Matter of Conditions

City of Launceston council took a different approach to the question – or lack of question – about ongoing e-scooter share services.

A spokesperson for the council said given the pilot’s unanimous support from both panels of Launceston councillors – before and after last year’s local government elections – the likelihood of ongoing share services was not really in doubt.

Instead, last week’s Launceston council meeting was simply asked to consider the conditions of licencing for ongoing services.

The conditions endorsed by last week’s meeting includes setting expectations for safety campaigns, regular reports to council on issues raised by the community and, like City of Hobart, the introduction of dedicated e-scooter and personal mobility device parking areas.

Launceston councillors also voted in favour of the council advocating for consistent legislation on e-scooters and other personal mobility devices in all Australian States and Territories, as well as nationally consistent categorisation of those devices. It says the benefits of nationwide consistency would include the ability to collect and analyse crash data that is comparable across transport modes and jurisdictions.

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