Two of Tasmania’s largest cities are set to introduce electric scooters to their public transport options, with local councils launching an Expression of Interest process for a suitable vendor.
Both Hobart and Launceston councils are about to jointly launch an Expressions of Interest (EoI) process to find a suitable supplier and operator for a 12-month trial of the transport technology, which would operate on an app-based, user-pays basis within defined geographical zones.
The introduction of micromobility options is identified in both the Sustainable Hobart and Connected Hobart action plans, and aligns strategically with the Greater Launceston Transport Vision and Work Plan and the Draft Launceston Transport Strategy.
“Electric scooters are convenient, compact, environmentally friendly and don’t contribute to the growing congestion on our roads,” Hobart Lord Mayor, Anna Reynolds, said.
“The most effective way to bust congestion is to provide more transport choices. Scooters may be useful for people who need to move around the city during the day but could otherwise leave their car at home, or commuters who live close to the city.
“It’s also a fun and easy way for tourists to move around and would contribute to the overall experience of Hobart and Launceston.”
Launceston Mayor, Albert van Zetten, said e-scooters had proved successful in other Australian capital cities.
“In Brisbane, there are two operators who have reported around 5000 trips a day combined,” Mr van Zetten said.
“There will need to be some controls around how they are operated and where they can be parked. These details will be considered as part of the EoI and tweaked during the trial period.
“There will be the opportunity to apply exclusion zones for safety and amenity and we’ll be looking for feedback from the broader community.”
The successful vendor will need to demonstrate safety, software reliability and device maintenance measures and usage data will be provided to the Cities of Hobart and Launceston to help assess the success of the trial.
Pending the outcome of the EoI, it is proposed that the 12-month trial commence by the end of 2021.
Under Tasmanian road laws, electric scooters with a maximum power output of 200W are permitted on shared paths and on roads with a speed limit of 50km/h or less.
The Cities of Hobart and Launceston will continue to work with the state government to address regulatory barriers – as interstate capital cities have done – particularly as significant changes are being made to the National Transport Commission’s guidelines on micromobility devices.