Abu Dhabi legalises e-scooter rentals to cut congestion

The two-wheelers will be allowed on the Corniche and Khalifa Street in a trial

Electric scooters are seen from Circ park near a road in Vienna, Austria, July 24, 2019.  REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
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Abu Dhabi will allow companies to rent out electric scooters to be used on pedestrian and cycle paths.

The city's transport authority said the vehicles can be used on the Corniche and Khalifa Street in the initial trial.

The Integrated Transport Centre said firms can apply for a certificate and business licences from the authorities to run rental services.

The first phase of the pilot will run for six to 12 months on the two streets. Scooters must be restricted to 15-20km per hour speeds.

The authority did not set out pricing structures and only said the service should be a "nominal cost" for users.

"E-scooters are considered an efficient environmental friendly means of transport for daily commutes and will link different public bus stations to main destinations like shopping malls, facilities and residential areas," the centre said in a news release.

"The implementation of this service follows ITC’s endeavour to reduce the traffic congestion and maintain a safe environment that will boost the quality of life in the emirate. This can be achieved by offering variety of alternative modes of transport."

In March, Dubai banned electric scooters while it decided how to regulate their use. One company, Qwikly Mobility, was offering e-bikes for Dh3 to unlock and 50 fils per minute to run. It discontinued services after 10 weeks of trading when the ban came in.

Last October, the French government announced plans to ban electric scooters from sidewalks and require riders to use bike lanes or roads.