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E-scooter licence and trial extended

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have extended the licence for Lime, the e-scooter ride-sharing company, to continue operating.

Lime’s licence is part of an e-scooter ride-sharing trial in Auckland. A review of the trial will determine whether hireable e-scooters will become a permanent fixture in the region.

Auckland Council Chief Operating Officer Dean Kimpton says the council’s Licensing and Regulatory Compliance team, together with Auckland Transport, issue licences for street trading activity.

“While they are not everyone’s preferred mode of transport, e-scooters have certainly proven popular in Auckland – we’ve seen significant growth in private ownership of e-scooters, as well as high uptake of rental scooters, in the last few months.

“Initially, three e-scooter operators were expected to participate in this trial over a four-month summer period. Their licences were staggered between mid-October 2018 and the end of February 2019.

“Lime’s licence was due to end on 14 January, leaving us without any operators in the Auckland market for the remainder of the trial period.

“We have extended Lime’s licence to allow us to continue to gather information and to complete our review. We are also pleased to be working with Lime on trialling some additional initiatives that will add to our review,” says Mr Kimpton.

The extension to Lime’s licence will be processed this week and the licence will end on 31 March 2019. The cost of extending the licence is $2653.63.

Extension recognises popularity of scooters

Auckland Transport Chief Executive Shane Ellison says AT and the council supports innovation and development across all modes of transport and this trial recognises the increasing popularity of electric scooters.

“Electric bikes, privately owned e-scooters and now ride-sharing options are becoming more popular in world-class cities everywhere.

“Enabling this trial to continue for a further ten weeks will give us a holistic picture of the demand for and use of e-scooters in our city and enable a clear way of managing that demand in the future.

Safety the priority

“It is also important to note in this context that safety is Auckland Transport’s most important priority. Electric scooters can be ridden on footpaths, roads and separated cycleways – that means they share their path with people, cars and bikes – so safety considerations must be a priority.

“We are also pleased that Lime has committed to working with us on some safety-focused initiatives to increase responsible use of e-scooters. Our streets are used by lots of different people and modes of transport. We are working to improve road safety and we are pleased that Lime will be working in partnership with us to trial initiatives around scooter education and appropriate speeds on our busier footpaths,” says Mr Ellison.

'Phenomenal uptake'

New Zealand Lime Launcher Hank Rowe welcomes the council’s decision to extend the trial licence for his company.

“Since launching in October, we have seen phenomenal uptake of the scooters in Auckland; we are so excited to continue bringing this smart, green, more accessible transport alternative to the city,” Mr Rowe said.

“We will also be launching some new initiatives that we hope will have a positive impact on people’s use of our scooters.

“These include creating a Lime ambassador programme to better manage rebalancing (redistributing) and parking scooters in popular locations, help people understand our safe riding practices and approaching those that need reminding of our terms and conditions.

“We’re also looking at pop-up opportunities in and around the city centre for demonstrations, safety training and giveaways,” says Mr Rowe.

E-scooter licence review and future licensing

During the first e-scooter licence period the council and Auckland Transport have been monitoring the trial. This has included logging feedback from the public, meeting regularly with operators, liaising and sharing information with other agencies like ACC, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Christchurch City Council (which is also conducting an e-scooter trial).

Information gathered during the trial period is being collated so that officers can make a recommendation on whether the council should continue issuing licences for e-scooter rental providers.

“Extending the trial until the end of March will enable us to complete our review within the trial period.

“We will confirm the exact timeline for the review work and how elected representatives will be involved in that decision-making process in the next few weeks,” says Mr Kimpton.

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