Lisbon battles scourge of electric scooters abandoned on streets

Scooter sharing companies will have to foot removal fee and pay fine in new parish council regulation

Alessio Perrone
Monday 01 July 2019 17:49
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(REUTERS
(REUTERS

Authorities in Lisbon’s old town are battling shared electric scooters abandoned on sidewalks, which locals increasingly describe as a scourge.

On Monday, the Lisbon parish of Santa Maria Maior – which oversees much of the historic centre and the neighbouring areas – introduced fines between 60 and 300 euros for companies whose rented scooters litter sidewalks and public spaces.

The council also banned the parking of the scooters on sidewalks and in places that “obstruct vehicles on sidewalks” and introduced a “removal fee” to be covered by the companies.

The regulation also extends to shared bicycles and segways that have been badly parked in public spaces, Portuguese newspaper Publico reported.

Over the past year, nine companies flooded Lisbon and eight other Portuguese cities including Faro and Coimbra with thousands of electric scooters, or “trotinetas” as they are known locally, which their customers use for short city trips.

Lisbon Municipal Police said that it already removed over 1,800 badly parked scooters between February and June, charging fees worth over 17,000 euros, according to Portugal’s Lusa news agency.

The Santa Maria Maior parish council, which contains the mediaeval St. George's castle and the 18th-century downtown business district, announced the regulation at the end of May, and it will be in force until 2021.

Other European cities are also considering ways of balancing the needs of pedestrians and scooter riders.

In recent weeks, the problem has become particularly apparent in Paris after customers using electric scooters caused a series of injuries to pedestrians.

Jérôme Courmet, the mayor of Paris’s 13th arrondissement, called for “enough of this bullshit” in a sternly worded video posted to Twitter.

“Scooter operators, look at me in the eye,” he says in the video, while a task force is seen in the background loading the scooters onto a truck. “Electric scooters being poorly parked on the pavement is over.”

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