“One of the most successful trials worldwide”: E-scooter trips hit one million
Melburnians have embraced the city’s first shared electric scooter scheme, reaching one million rides after just four months of operation.
Since February 1, more than 5000 trips have been taken on average each day within the City of Melbourne alone, which has exceeded pre-trial predictions.
The strong early numbers compare favourably with other cities around the world; it took London, for example, a year to reach the one-million threshold.
The presence of orange and green scooters in the city — from companies Neuron Mobility and Lime respectively — is part of a 12-month, three-council trial that started earlier this year.
“We’ve reached the incredible milestone of one million e-scooter trips across the City of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp revealed.
“We’re averaging 8600 trips per day since the trial commenced, with more than 5200 in the City of Melbourne alone. To put these astonishing numbers in perspective, it took Londoners more than half a year longer to reach this special milestone – with thousands more scooters available. It’s great to see Melburnians embracing the benefits of sustainable, green-powered, fun modes of transport.”
On the back of the positive early numbers, the City of Melbourne’s director of city strategy Sophie Handley was asked at a June 7 Future Melbourne Committee meeting whether the trial was likely to become permanent.
“They [e-scooters] are certainly popular. It’s been one of the most successful trials worldwide,” she said.
“But the decision as to whether or not they become a permanent feature rests with the state government.
“There is an evaluation that’s part of this trial and we will participate, obviously, in the evaluation with the Department of Transport and our other partners.”
Since the introduction of 1500 e-scooters to inner-Melbourne earlier this year, their place in the transport network remains a point of contention, particularly about how they intersect with pedestrians.
Other conflicts range from where riders choose to travel, and where they park once their trip has concluded.
According to data from Neuron Mobility, 84 per cent of rides in the City of Melbourne were now taking place within the city’s dedicated bike lanes.
The group’s head of Australia and New-Zealand operations Richard Hannah said Melbourne’s cycling infrastructure had played “a big part in the program’s early success”.
“Bike lanes are quickly becoming more like mobility lanes, carrying multiple different modes of transport including cyclists, e-scooters, e-bikes and others,” Cr Capp added.
“This is the same trend we are seeing in cities across the world like New York, London and Paris.”
Outside of the orange and green hire scooters, e-scooters remains a largely unregulated form of transport.
Private e-scooters that travel above 10kmh remain illegal under Victorian law.
While the Lime and Neuron e-scooters can travel at a maximum speed of 20kmh, private scooters can travel significantly faster.
Ms Handley said the council had identified a “latent demand for private scooter use” and that this, in addition to those used in the hire scheme, would increase the coexistence between cyclists and scooter users within the protected lanes.
“The terms of reference for the evaluation includes a requirement to understand how e-scooters could be safely incorporated into the transport networks. So, there will be a deliberate contemplation about how we can incorporate them in a more permanent fashion … the formalisation [of the current trial into a permanent program], if that should go ahead, would mean the existing infrastructure that we have in the separated bicycle lanes; the demand for that space is likely to grow.” •