In response to extensive feedback from community members, Battery Point Community Association Committee members have engaged in ongoing communication with the Hobart City Council Manager (Smart and Sustainable City) and some Councillors. We have also met with the Regional Manager of Neuron Mobility (the orange scooter company) at his suggestion.
We have received some positive comments about the e-scooters, including that they are fun, non-polluting and move easily around the city. However, the vast majority of comments have been critical, mainly pertaining to:
- their use for joy riding
- their negative impact on public safety, including possible COVID-19 infections
- their unsuitability for use on Battery Point footpaths, where there have been a number of significant incidents, notably involving people with limited mobility or disability
- the unsuitability of parking stations in most areas of Battery Point because of narrow footpaths and roads, along with busy pedestrian and vehicular traffic
- their regular use by under-age riders, inexperienced riders, tandem riders, riders without helmets and people who have been drinking
- their negative impact on residential amenity, and the historic, aesthetic and cultural values of Battery Point
- the aggressive attitude of some riders in response to being challenged for inappropriate behaviour
- the lack of policing / regulation of use
- the lack of consultation with the local community about the details of the trial.
The Regional Manager of Neuron Mobility pointed out the following:
- Riders are allowed on the road where there is no central line. This applies to Battery Point streets; however, scooters can still be ridden on footpaths in the suburb (the HCC could designate footpaths in the suburb as unsuitable).
- Neuron will be appointing safety ambassadors who will wear orange t-shirts.
- Neuron has a 24-7 team of patrollers and drivers who are involved with deploying scooters as well as moving and charging them.
- Council can set boundaries to restrict or not allow the riding / parking of e-scooters in certain areas. (Council has discussed this with the e-scooter companies and we are seeking information on these discussions).
- Battery Point could be made a no parking zone so someone could ride a scooter through the area but would not be allowed to leave a scooter here. This would be controlled by a ‘geo-fence’. Neuron is willing to make this a condition for Battery Point, but would need the approval of Beam. (The HCC is not willing to enforce this condition).
- e-Scooters are meant to be ’touched’ twice a day by the company. Cleaning would occur at this point, though the scooter could have been used by a number of people before this occurs.
- Reporting of offences can been done to Council or Neuron or both. When reporting, it is useful to include the number of the scooter for tracking purposes.
- Neuron will have 3 and 9 monthly user surveys.