Ireland is lagging behind its European neighbours when it comes to creating and regulating new, innovative transport modes like e-scooters, a new mobility grouping has said. This is something myself I have an issue with as there is still no answer going forward for users who can be fined for using effective transport especially in these challenging times right now and when we should be using public transport as a last resort, I too own an electric scooter but there is a grey area that has not been fixed yet and going on too long now and needs to be addressed NOW.
The comments come as FREE NOW, Ireland’s largest e-hailing app, launched a new Mobility Series aimed at bringing together a range of stakeholders from across the sector to discuss the key issues and opportunities for Ireland to become a leader in joined-up, sustainable mobility that helps cities flow and reduces reliance on private car ownership.
The first event in the series brought mobility industry leaders together and focused on e-scooters in the Covid-19 world, and the steps that need to be taken in order for Ireland to catch up with its European neighbours in order to offer micro-mobility across the country.
Speakers included other Irish e-scooter operators: Zipp’s VP Growth & Government Affairs, Will O’Brien and Zeus Scooters’ COO, David O’Reilly as well as Richard Dilks, CEO of CoMO UK, a charity that focuses on the public benefit of shared transport and has worked closely with industry and Government on the trials in the UK.
The key recommendations from across the group include:
- Learning from other countries such as the UK, Germany and Australia who have already legalised e-scooters or undertaken e-scooter trials – these can highlight successes and mistakes to learn from.
- The introduction of e-scooter trials in a range of locations in Ireland – both big cities and smaller towns in order for lessons to be learnt in a range of settings. There needs to be several trials, not just one.
- The need for operators and local authorities to focus on ensuring other road users and non E-scooter users are considered, for example when it comes to parking through the use of geofencing technology to ensure compliance.
- The use of private e-scooters to be reviewed separately to organisations that can provide e-scooters as part of the transport network. Operator schemes allow for more safety and traceability.
- A focus on training for first-time users to tackle any safety concerns.
- E-scooters can help create a modal shift, and move people away from private car journeys, helping with city congestion and the environment while contributing to the road to zero carbon.
- For authorities to have a joined up approach for e-scooters and other modes of transport to create a truly integrated, sustainable, transport system
Chair of the Mobility Series, Fiona Brady, Head of Operations at FREE NOW said: “The Mobility Series has been set up to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the pivotal topics within the transport sector. It is really important that these issues are not forgotten amidst the pandemic chaos of 2020. In the context of Covid-19, we need our cities and towns to move in a more sophisticated way more than ever and we are lagging behind our European neighbours on key opportunities to do so, such as the regulated introduction of e-scooters into our mobility ecosystem.
“We have set up this Series to drive discussion but also to ignite real change. We at FREE NOW will continue to call on the Government to prioritise the legislation for e-scooter trials as soon as possible. Scooters allow for the socially-distanced transport that is appropriate for the pandemic, and trials in countries such as the UK, where the first trials started just 9 days after legislation was passed, are accelerating – we need to see more action here.”
The next event in the Mobility Series will be held at the beginning of November and will focus on electric vehicles. A recent survey of FREE NOW passengers showed that almost 70% of people are now more environmentally-aware in their day-to-day routines, including when making decisions on how to travel, since COVID-19.