A group of major mobility providers in Ireland have written to Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party to welcome the commitment in the Programme for Government to legislate for e-scooters, but have also called for a radical rethink in how Ireland manages transport.
FREE NOW, Lime, Bleeperbike, Zip Mobility and Zeus have said any new incoming government must make legislation for e-scooters and other forms of Powered Personal Transporters (PPT) an immediate priority in the wake of COVID-19.
In an open letter sent to the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, the providers highlighted the need to radically rethink how Ireland manages transport and the requirement for new forms of micro mobility: “Now, more than ever, we can encourage a shift into alternative forms of transport. Other countries have made the deployment of micro-mobility a key step in supporting their re-opening, it is time for Ireland to do the same. COVID-19 has changed how people will travel and many are seeking alternatives that allow social distancing. E-scooters and other forms of micro-mobility can support this.”
Alan Fox, General Manager of FREE NOW said: “We have brought together the major mobility providers in Ireland and are calling on any incoming government to prioritise the legislation of e-scooters and other micro mobility as a matter of urgency. While we welcome the commitments made in the new Programme for Government, we urge any incoming government to make this legislation a top priority. Ireland needs to radically rethink how we manage the traditional transport modes such as buses and trains to reduce clustering of commuters at peak times. Taxi drivers have been working throughout the pandemic to get essential workers to where they need to be. Taxis will continue to offer the potential to transport passengers in an effective, socially-distanced way, but we now see people looking for greater mode diversity and alternatives to public transport as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We need to offer alternative modes of transport that enable people to get around without putting more private cars on the streets, which would ratchet up congestion again and increase harmful carbon emissions. Now is the time for any new government to allow for more choice and encourage people to leave their cars at home and use e-bikes, e-scooters and other forms of micro mobility.”
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport ran a public consultation on Personal Powered Transporters (PPTs) last year, but no recent progress has been made to introduce new legislation that would permit the use of e-scooters in Ireland. The commitment to legislate for e-scooters was included in the recently-announced Programme for Government.
The mobility providers also said in the letter that: “We believe that we can help people travel responsibly and we will help usher in the return of economic activity. This is a great opportunity for a new government to encourage passengers to get out of private cars and onto bikes, scooters and other forms of micro-mobility.”
Electric scooters, an efficient and carbon-friendly transport mode that is tailor-made for the new socially-distanced normal, are already an integral part of the transport mix in many European countries like Germany and France that are easing restrictions with measured transport circulation.