Albany e-scooter trial officially given the green light by City council

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Shared e-scooters are growing in popularity across metropolitan and regional WA with trials under way in several local government areas.
Camera IconShared e-scooters are growing in popularity across metropolitan and regional WA with trials under way in several local government areas. Credit: Jamie Thannoo/RegionalHUB

City of Albany councillors passed an amendment to give people more flexibility as to where they park their e-scooters before they endorsed two competing e-scooter trials at Tuesday’s meeting.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of delegating power to the chief executive to approve applications for 12-month commercial trials of hireable electric scooters by Beam Mobility and Bird Rides once the companies demonstrate they comply with a range of conditions.

An amendment to the committee recommendation, which was put forward by Cr Thomas Brough and passed unanimously, will allow riders to park their e-scooters anywhere within the operating area — except for no-parking zones — as long as they are parked in an appropriate manner.

Instead of strictly designated parking zones, riders will be encouraged to park the scooters in “incentivised parking areas”.

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Speaking about his amment, Cr Brough said both operators had confirmed a flexible parking arrangement would be better “for all concerned”.

“We’ve heard from the experts, the people that run these businesses, that they think this is going to work better and I’m really happy to defer to them and their expertise on this,” he said.

“And it’s a trial — if it’s not working out, we’ve got the protective mechanisms in place to look after our community so that ... if things work to plan we can impose necessary changes.”

Cr Greg Stocks, who seconded the amendment, said the community was looking forward to the trial.

“I’ll reiterate that both Beam and Bird in various presentations talked about the flexible option being the way to go. Well, we weren’t going to opt for a particularly flexible option even though there was that intent,” he said.

“This captures what we should try to do in a trial, and that is give the trial all the possible conditions to see if they work.

“This (amendment) will give it every chance to work. Some might say it won’t work, but let’s find out if it does.”

There have been 31 conditions placed on the approval, including a need for each company to submit complaints handling procedures to the City, as well as a matching e-scooter program.

The e-scooter programs must address community feedback provided during co-design sessions and outline where the e-scooters will operate, as well as any slow, no-ride, and no-parking zones.

The companies will also be asked to ensure any scooters left in no-parking areas are collected for redistribution within an hour.

They will need to put in place a system to incentivise good parking behaviour and penalise non-compliance.

No more than 200 e-scooters will be allowed to be distributed throughout the City by each permit-holder at any one time.

Shared e-scooters are growing in popularity across metropolitan and regional WA, with trials under way in the local government areas of Stirling, Rockingham, Esperance and Greater Geraldton.

After a successful trial period, Beam Mobility recently expanded its geofence in Bunbury after data showed e-scooters carried riders more than 118,000km between December and July.

Beam is a Singapore-based company operating in 18 Australian locations, while Bird is a US-based company with e-scooters in three Australian locations.

A surge in e-scooter popularity, particularly in Perth, has coincided with a spate of serious incidents, including at least two deaths, sparking calls for tougher rules.

Between January and June, St John WA paramedics responded to 148 call-outs to crashes related to e-scooters.

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