It is understood Australian company Beam Mobility intends to launch a “tourism-centric” electric scooter rental service in the resort town, operating in partnership with local hotels and businesses.
The model would allegedly work on a revenue-sharing basis with local operators, in return for private vehicle parking space.
Beam, which already operates fleets in five locations around New Zealand, including Auckland and Palmerston North, is understood to have been working with the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
A Beam representative claimed the council “broadly endorsed” the plan and model, according to the information seen.
A council spokesman did not respond to inquiries by deadline.
A proposal document showed the company intended to set up a 10sqkm operation boundary around an area including Frankton, the central business area, Fernhill and Sunshine Bay.
Any businesses partnering with Beam were not required to contribute capital expenditure, insurance or maintenance — Beam allegedly handled it all and provided commission on every trip from partner parking hubs.
The proposal also promised several “slow speed zones” and “no ride zones” in high pedestrian areas in the CBD, as well as a “dedicated 24/7 marshal team” to service the fleet and monitor for issues.
Scooters would also not be able to park anywhere but “designated private parking zones” — non-compliance would result in an immediate $18 fine to the user.
While the service was expected to “provide visitors and locals in Queenstown with an affordable, convenient and fun way to move around”, electric scooter proposals have historically attracted criticism in the town.
In 2019, plans for transportation company Lime to enter a six-month trial agreement with the council to operate 400 scooters in Queenstown were met with public outrage on social media.
Concerns mounted over electric scooters endangering public safety and increasing congestion, before the proposal was axed because of Covid.
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside general manager Jim Moore said when Beam representatives visited Queenstown a fortnight ago to meet operators, he chose not to engage, as he did not support the introduction of scooters.
“Our streets are busy as it is and we are trying to pedestrianise them more, so I cannot understand the logic of adding scooters.”
Mr Moore approached the council about the proposal and was allegedly told since scooters would not be left on public land, a trial had been sanctioned.
A Beam representative said the company was “always seeking opportunities” to expand its New Zealand operations, and was keen to work with councils interested in adopting “shared micromobility”.