A referendum of residents in Paris, once a pioneer of e-scooter share services, has voted overwhelmingly to ban them from the city.
More than 89% of participating residents voted for the end of self-service scooters in Paris, which was an early adopter of scooter share services when it introduced them in 2018.
Three companies, Lime, Dott and Tier, are currently operating in the city, with a total of 15,000 scooter and will have until the end of August to pull out of the city.
They issued a joint statement saying low voter turnout had an impact on the referendum result.
Just over 103,000 people, only about 7.5% of registered Paris voters, turned out to vote.
The joint statement says restrictive rules, a limited number of polling stations – causing long lines that dissuaded young voters – and no electronic voting “heavily skewed” the poll toward older age groups, while younger Parisians dominated the services’ regular clientele.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo had indicated she supports banning e-scooters from Paris streets, despite being a globally-recognised champion for cycling commuting and active transport.
“This evening, the Parisians who spoke overwhelmingly spoke out against self-service scooters. Their very clear message now becomes our roadmap,” she said in a statement after the proclamation of the result.
“With my team, we will follow through on their decision as I promised.”
“The public domain occupancy agreement with the operators will end on 31st August 2023.”
The Mayor indicated safety concerns and managing e-scooter parking were primary reasons she backed the ban, even though the industry is subjected to much tighter regulations since they were introduced to the city.
Several regulatory measures have been implemented since Lime, Dott and Tier signed agreements in September 2020 to operate their services.
At that time, Paris cut the number of operators to three and the number of scooters to 15,000.
The subsequent stricter measures included creating 2,500 parking areas to “avoid anarchy on the sidewalks” and limiting the scooters to a maximum speed of 10kmh for most of the city.
“Faced with the disrespectful behavior of many users, the operators also announced measures at the end of 2022: ban for minors, registration of scooters,” the city said in a statement.
The referendum result and ban will not affect privately-owned scooters, with 700,000 sold in France last year according to transport ministry figures.
Around 2.5 million people in France own an e-scooter and the referendum result has prompted predictions from industry members that private purchases will climb significantly.
The referendum result also does not impact on e-bike share services, which will remain in the city.