PERTH council launches its e-scooter hire scheme trial this week, but there’ll be no sharing between council borders as originally planned.
Originally the plan was for the “Inner City Group” councils Perth, South Perth, Subiaco, Victoria Park and Vincent to share a scooter share program, but Perth’s scooters will be programmed to grind to a halt at the border.
The dream was that someone could hire a scooter to take from North Perth to the CBD or scoot over to UWA or Subiaco, cutting down on traffic going in and out of the city.
But Perth was the quickest off the starting block and decided to go it alone, a decision dubbed “disappointing” by one Vincent councillor who was hoping for seamless inner-city scootering (“Wheels fall off e-scooter plan,” Voice, November 26, 2022).
For there to be any hope of figuring out an inter-shire network in the future, Vincent will now be locked into going with one of the two providers Perth council’s using: Bird Co. and Neuron Mobility.
Perth council went with two providers, because “having two competing companies as part of the scheme will ensure e-scooter users within the City are getting the best value for money,” lord mayor Basil Zempilas said in an announcement of the two year e-scooter trial.
But a two-provider system has proved controversial in other areas.
Stirling council recently completed a one-year trial with Neuron e-scooters.
At their March 7 meeting, when deciding whether to extend the trial, Stirling staff urged councillors not to switch over to a multi-operator system.
They advised it made the complaints more difficult to handle since often complainants didn’t know which company a scooter belonged to, said it would mean people had to sign up for a separate app and account for each different brand they wanted to hire, and warned that people whose accounts were banned for abusing the share scheme would get a second chance for mischief by just using another brand.
For now they’re sticking with Neuron, extending the trial for another year until they figure out a permanent plan.
Both Bird and Neuron are “dockless” e-scooters, as opposed to a stricter scheme where scooters are locked into docks until the user makes an account and hires them. Such dockless scooters in other cities have sometimes seen scooters picked up and dumped by vandals, or parked haphazardly by careless users.
Perth council hopes to cut down on poor parking by requiring users to be in a recognised “parking zone”, before the scooter will let them log out of their account. The honour system’s still in place to not leave them tipped over after logging out.
The 500 scooters are up for hire from March 18 and cost $1 to start the trip and then 45 cents per kilometre.
by DAVID BELL