Shared electric scooters ‘might be good for us’, but Gold Coast mayor says safety first
Mayor Tom Tate has ruled out the introduction of shared electric scooters on the Gold Coast, despite new research suggesting the program may ease congestion and make spending easier for tourists.
- Griffith University study suggests electric scooters offer tourists better opportunities to spend more while decreasing dependence on cars
- Gold Coast City Council has ruled out a shared electric scooter program like the one seen in Brisbane
- Transport Academic Says “Benefits Outweigh Costs” and Infrastructure Should Accommodate Electric Scooters
Between December 2020 and February 2021, the Cities Research Institute at Griffith University studied the use of Neuron electric scooters in Townsville, with 140 visitors and 80 residents.
Matthew Burke, of the Institute, said a third had averaged 26 kilometers in 11 trips, spending 42% more per day.
“This could be good for us in a number of ways,” said Dr Burke.
“Good for the image of our city, good for the dispersal of tourists – getting people to move around and hopefully get them to spend more money on what literature calls ‘pop moms and shops’.”
While most major Australian cities have made shared electric scooters part of their transportation offerings, laws governing their use remain complicated and safety continues to be a concern for councils.
Safety first, according to the mayor
In 2018, the council confiscated 23 electric scooters on the streets of the Gold Coast after Lime attempted to launch its shared electric scooter service.
“What we don’t accept in this city are the operators who come in and basically drop their products off on the streets and trails of the city,” City Council transport manager Alton Twine said at the time. .
Cr Tate said Lime deployed the electric scooters without council permission.
“We have thought about it and we say no,” he said.
Laws differ from state to state, but in Queensland electric scooters are only allowed on trails where they can travel at up to 25 kilometers per hour.
Cr Tate said this poses an unacceptable security risk.
Between July 2020 and March this year, there were 143 incidents involving shared electric scooters in Brisbane.
Earlier this month, Brisbane City Council awarded three-year contracts to Beam and Neuron Mobility to each operate 1,000 electric scooters and 400 electric bikes.
But Cr Tate said launching 750 shared e-bikes on the Gold Coast last year was a safer option.
“If there is an expansion, I would like it to expand further into the suburbs, go further north.”
“Missing links” in infrastructure
Dr Burke said there were “missing links” in the Gold Coast’s infrastructure that could accommodate more electric scooters, especially the lack of the Oceanway Road along Mermaid Beach.
But the state government has committed part of a $ 10 million fund to expand the Oceanway to Mermaid Beach, alongside the third tram stop.
“A growing active transportation network is emerging on the coast and the plan for more green bridges will deliver more,” said Dr Burke.
He said the average age of electric scooter users in the Townsville study was over 40, half of whom were women.
“The evidence is now accumulating that the benefits outweigh the costs, but you have to deliver them, in a good way. “
The Cities Research Institute in Griffith has suggested that electric scooters could help commuters connect to public transport, reducing their dependence on cars.
Data from Brisbane City Council showed that between 30% and 50% of electric scooter and e-bike trips replaced car trips.