July 19, 2019

Israel's Scooter Mania

“Anyone who has been in Tel Aviv in the past year has encountered shared electric scooters laying on sidewalks, in the middle of pathways, in public parks and at entrances to apartment buildings. Three international companies — US-based Bird and Lime and the German company Wind — have dumped some 10,000 scooters on greater Tel Aviv.

After long months of total chaos, on June 17 the Tel Aviv municipality published regulations for shared scooter services. The new regs limit parking the vehicles to various parts of the city and designates marked parking areas. It also limits the number of vehicles and the areas of their distribution and increases the policing of riders on sidewalks, authorizing parking police to confiscate scooters whose riders violated the rules.

“Electric scooters are a kind of social utopia,” Ido Cohen, director of the start-up Loadmill, told Al-Monitor. “They address the very serious problem of mobility in cities and the problem of the ‘last mile.’ According to data from the rideshare company Lyft, most of their rides are less than a mile. The scooters solve this problem with less air pollution, noise and less traffic. It’s the reason that in the future they will seriously hurt the taxi industry, it seems.”

The shared scooters are enormously popular according to a study Cohen conducted analyzing data from the vehicles’ charging stations. Cohen’s found in 2018, all 330 operating scooters from Bird, the only company then operating in Tel Aviv, were being used at any given time. Over the course of several months, Cohen counted 1,715 daily trips on average.The data show a consistent pattern of useage, he said.”

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