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Council considers extending Lime scooter licence

Published: 7 January 2019

Auckland Council is considering extending the licence for e-scooter rideshare company Lime to allow for a longer trial period and completion of a council-led review.

The decision to extend the existing licence sits with the council’s Licensing and Regulatory Compliance team, in consultation with Auckland Transport.

Chief Operating Officer Dean Kimpton says that, while extending the licence is a fairly straightforward process, council officers are working through some of the finer points.

“We’re using the next few days to do a quick recap of the first licence period to see whether the licence needs any tweaks – keeping in mind that it is still part of a trial and this is the time to test licence conditions for new types of commercial operations," he says.

“We are also confirming the duration of the extended licence. We initially had a trial period set to run until 28 February but have had some changes occur since the first licences were issued, namely the withdrawal of one operator and second experiencing a delay in launching.

“One consideration in extending Lime’s licence is the potential for a second operator to still enter the market, therefore giving us some comparison information to include in our review,” he says.

If an extension is granted for Lime, a licence will be issued later this week. The end-date will be confirmed when the licence is issued. Operators pay a licence fee and the council does not receive any share of the company’s income or profits. A three-month licence costs approximately $3000.

Reviewing licence performance

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 Lime, 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).

“Our next step is to collate all the feedback we have gathered during the trial period and make a recommendation on whether the council should continue issuing licences for e-scooter rental providers,” says Mr Kimpton.

“We will confirm the timeline for this work and how elected representatives will be involved in that decision-making process in the next few weeks.”

Safety is important

“We support new modes of transport, including publicly accessible ride-sharing offers like bikes and e-scooters and, as with all transport options, safety is paramount. Adapting to these new modes also requires us to review how we use our transport ‘corridors’ such as footpaths, cycleways and roads.

“It is also important to remember that ride-share e-scooters are not the only electric scooters on our roads and footpaths,” says Mr Kimpton.

“Private electric scooter ownership is more popular than ever and safe scooter use applies to everyone."

“Auckland Transport will continue to encourage scooter users to use common sense and share footpaths with all users safely. That includes using your scooter at safe speeds and wearing a helmet,” he says.

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport launched a ‘scooterists code’ late last year in response to public and media queries on scooter safety.

The scooterists code:

  1. ears out, eyes up (pay attention at all times, look where you’re going and don’t use mobile devices while on a scooter)
  2. cars hurt – scoot where it’s safe (while the road rules allow e-scooters to use the road, we recommend considering this carefully. Separated cycleways are also ok – but not cycleways that are part of the road network).
  3. it’s cool to wear a lid (it’s always recommended to wear a helmet)
  4. keep it cruisey and enjoy the ride (watch your speed; a slower trip can also be an enjoyable one)
  5. one scooterist per scooter (this is a condition of use and an important safety consideration)
  6. avoid people  it’s the best way forward. (share the footpath, road or cycleway with care; pedestrians have every right to be on footpaths too and we don’t want to see them knocked over)
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