Dublin City Council is to ask operators of public electric scooter sharing schemes to provide information on how they might work here, with some operators concerned they may be forced to ensure e-scooters are locked when not in use. The issue of parking has been problematic in other jurisdictions.
The council has submitted a document to councillors serving on its travel committee ahead of a meeting early next week that outlines areas in which it is seeking guidance from operators.
The move comes ahead of legislation expected to be passed shortly which will permit the use of e-scooters on public roads for the first time.
More than 20 operators have expressed interest in launching shared services both in Dublin and other towns and cities. These include international companies such as Dott, Tier, Voi, Bird, Bolt and Superpedestrian as well as local players like Zipp Mobility, Bleeper and Zeus.
Dublin City Council says in its document that following the enactment of legislation it proposes to invite expressions of interest from shared scheme operators to bid” for at least one licence” for the capital.
The document is expected to be sent to scheme operators after sign off at next week’s meeting, with some of the initial information sought likely to generate concerns.
This information includes a question over whether scooters could be locked to structures when not in use.
Parking has emerged as one of the key issues with the introduction of shared e-scooter schemes. When services were initially launched in the US in particular, there were problems with riders dumping scooters at the side of roads or on pavements once they’ve finished with them.
Operators who spoke to The Irish Times said that a so-called ‘lock-to parking system’ has not been found to result in better parking compliance and has largely been rejected in other European jurisdictions.
Operators said they would be concerned about the introduction of such a system as ensuring the public is on board with schemes will be critical to the success of their roll-out.
Operators have increasingly worked with local authorities to address problems through actions such as setting up dedicated parking bays or through forcing users to send photos to verify they have parked in the right places.
The council makes it clear in its document that the “information gathering exercise” is not a call for expressions of interest from operators, although it is possible that some of content could form the basis of a future tender notice.
Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers late last month published the Dáil’s summer schedule which includes the Road Traffic (Misc Provisions) Bill, which will legislate for and regularise the usage of e-scooters.