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Source: Auckland Council

Micro-mobility is here to stay and with it, comes a standardised process for licencing rental e-scooters in Auckland. Here’s what to expect.

It’s been a huge year for micro-mobility in Auckland and indeed for many cities around the world, with new modes of transport continuing to arrive and change how people move from place to place.

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have taken our learnings this year from two e-scooter rental trials and evaluated how we could better licence these services. Off the back of this, we announced that rental e-scooters will be an on-going fixture on our city’s streets. December not only closes out a big year for micro-mobility, but also marks our move to standardised rental e-scooter licencing.

Craig Hobbs, Director of Regulatory Services, says the council and AT must continue to make allowances for these new modes of transport in our city and transport planning. 

“We’ve worked hard to incorporate feedback to enhance our licensing process and figure out how rental e-scooter schemes can work for everyone.”

Following the end of trial two and the expiry of the previous licences, four operators – Beam, Flamingo, Jump and Neuron – have been granted rental e-scooter licences until 3 June 2020. Flamingo is already scooting on the streets this week, while the other operators are gearing up to deploy their fleets.

Here’s some more background on new licence conditions, allocations and the general application criteria for operators moving forward.

Updated Code of Practice

The rental e-scooter Code of Practice is the key tool that we have to work with operators on setting good standards for their operations. We have worked through the trials and evaluation process to explore a number of enhanced initiatives. These have been incorporated into our updated Code of Practice and are being implemented with the support of all operators.

Some of these changes include:

  • A curfew from 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays in entertainment areas to reduce safety and nuisance concerns such as drink riding and noise.
  • Deactivation of rental e-scooters outside of licensed hours (licenced hours have also been reduced to: 5am – 11pm)
  • Operators auditing user parking, and stricter requirements for non-compliant parking enforcement, for example, operators must resolve a report of a damaged e-scooter or an e-scooter parked in a non-compliant manner within two hours of notification by a member of the public or the council.
  • Initiatives to influence rider behaviour in the areas of riding and parking.
  • Requirement for a prominently displayed unique identification number on each e-scooter.

Mr Hobbs says initiatives like curfews in entertainment areas makes it safer for e-scooter users and pedestrians by reducing alcohol related harm.

“We’ve listened to our communities and worked with the Police and District Health Boards to suggest curfew zones for operators. Curfews are about acknowledging the importance of being safe and not drinking while scooting,” he says.

Slow speed zones will also continue to be a feature offered by rental operators for this period of licensing. However, unlike curfews, which are incorporated into the conditions of the licence, the council and AT cannot impose speed limits through the Code of Practice or licence process because these factors are regulated by central government.

AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison says operator-initiated geo-fencing is important for public safety.

“We were heartened to see each operator adopt slow speed zones during the last trial and know this will continue.”

Mr Ellison adds that as always, successful scooting also relies on the fact that users have their part to play in keeping streets safe for everybody.

“We encourage everybody to practice safe scooting while sharing the streets, particularly in areas with lots of pedestrians. Riders should follow the terms and conditions they agree to when renting an e-scooter, wear a helmet and ride safely.”

Learn more about what our evaluation involved, how we regulate rental e-scooters and what role central government has in regulating e-scooter speed and other factors.

Where curfews and slow speed zones apply

The following entertainment areas will have curfews, which means that operators have agreed to deactivate their scooters in these areas between the agreed times of 9pm and 5am on Friday and Saturday.  

  • Downtown
  • Wynyard Quarter
  • Viaduct
  • Skycity
  • Karangahape Road
  • Ponsonby
  • Parnell
  • Mission Bay

Some areas will be geo-fenced. Riders will notice scooters slow to 15 kmph when entering or starting their journey in a slow-speed zone.  These include locations within

  • Takapuna
  • Devonport
  • Ponsonby Road
  • Jervois Road (College Hill to Curran Street)
  • Karangahape Road
  • CBD including Queen Street, Fanshawe Street, waterfront area and Westhaven Marina
  • Auckland City Hospital precinct
  • Parnell (including the Blind and Low Vision NZ precinct)
  • Newmarket
  • Mission Bay
  • Kohimarama
  • St Heliers
  • New Lynn
  • Onehunga
  • And other areas across the city

E-scooter allocation and fees

Allocation

We have agreed to licence up to a maximum of 3200 scooters across three tiers in Auckland. Each tier has a capped allowance. There are currently 3,125 scooters allocated across the four operators (see below).

Mr Hobbs says that following the trials, the council and AT decided to put a particular focus on improving transport options in tiers two and three, with the bulk of new allocations serving the city fringe and outer suburbs.

“We are particularly keen to see an increase in micromobility services that offer riders the chance to connect with public transport for that first or last leg of their commuting journey.”

“This will also give people living in the outer suburbs more transport choice. Supporting rental e-scooters in Auckland is not just about the city centre and fringe, but the wider region too,” he says.

As for the decision on allocation, operators were asked in their applications to give an indication of how many scooters they wished to deploy and in which tiers.

Tier Beam Flamingo Jump Neuron Total
1 330 330 210 330 1,200
2 200 200 400 200 1,000
3 350 100  125 350 925
Total 880 630 735 880 3,125

Fees

Following the trial we have implemented an hourly charge for any costs associated with the monitoring and compliance activities. 

We now also require a deposit to review an application, based on 25 hours of work, as well as standard street trading licencing fees.

Tier Fee per two e-scooters
1 $73.00
2 $44.00
3 $11.00

Total fees per operator based on allocation (not including additional costs):

Tier Beam Flamingo Jump Neuron
1 $12,045 $12,045 $7,665 $10,950
2 $4,400 $4,400 $8,800 $4,400
3 $1,925 $5,500 $867.5 $1,925
Total $18,370 $16,995 $17,152.50 $17,275

The application process

To get to the point of being offered a rental e-scooter licence by the council, operators must first submit a full application. This is then rigourously reviewed by our e-scooter team before recommendations are made to the AC/AT steering committee for the Chair’s final sign-off.

“The successful applications in this round of licencing included higher quality strategies around influencing user behaviour to improve safety outcomes and reduce potential nuisance,” says Mr Hobbs.

Licensing decisions are made under the Bylaw and all licence applications must be assessed against the requirements of the Bylaw. We also considered the extent to which the operator was able to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the code of practice and would thereby be able to meet the licence condition to this effect. 

The assessment criteria included initiatives to reduce nuisance, influencing rider behaviour,  maintenance and reporting plans, safety initiatives and how the application contributes to Auckland’s policies and plans.

MIL OSI