City of Melbourne backs plan for expanded e-scooter scheme

City of Melbourne has backed the ongoing operation of commercial e-scooters within the LGA, as well as plans to establish a shared local government scheme across inner Melbourne.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp

The City has been participating in the state government’s e-scooter trial since February 2022 in partnership with the City of Port Phillip and City of Yarra, with 1,500 scooters operated by Lime and Neuron.

There have been nearly 5 million shared e-scooter trips since the trial began.

It’s anticipated the government will permanently legalise shared e-scooters in early October, and council officers are already in talks with other inner city councils about expanding the scheme in anticipation of the decision.

An internal report considered by City of Melbourne’s  Future Melbourne Committee last Tuesday noted some ‘issues’ had arisen during the trial, including people riding on footpaths, riding while drunk, riding without helmets, carrying passengers, and leaving scooters on footpaths.

The report says councils need legal powers to manage the schemes if these issues are to be addressed.

This includes determining fleet size, and setting standards for rider behaviour, parking and the use of technology.

 Council also needs to be able to ensure compliance, including issuing penalties and banning operators.

“In order for shared e-scooter systems to be safe, viable and provide a net public benefit, the most important regulatory tool is for councils to have legal power to manage shared e-scooter schemes,” the agenda item states.

Unanimous support

The committee unanimously passed a motion by Lord Mayor Sally Capp to support the ongoing operation of commercial e-scooters in the City of Melbourne, as long as safety and regulation issues are resolved, and subject to Council having the power to manage the schemes via contractual agreements with operators.

Cr Capp said the trail had been a ‘phenomenal success’ and added value to the local transport network and the City.

“Our expectation is that this will continue to be an important part of our transport network going forward,” she said.

The committee resolved to expedite the rollout of technology providing for designated e-scooter parking zones for the remaining months of the current trial.

It also agreed to continue planning for a wider shared e-scooter trial across inner Melbourne with the M9 group of councils – made up of Darebin, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Moonee Valley, Merri-bek, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra – and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).

The Melbourne trial is part of a state government program to assess how to safely incorporate the micromobility devices into the community for the long term.

The Victorian government reported that during the first 12 months of the trial, around 400 tonnes of carbon emissions were avoided as people switched from cars to e-scooters.

Operators say the trial has resulted in a $270 million economic contribution to the City, with fewer than two hospitalisations per 100,000 km travelled.

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