Paris has dealt a major blow to micromobility companies Lime, Dott and Tier by voting to ban electric scooter rentals from its streets. The move has sent shock waves across the industry, with many fearing it will influence similar decisions in other cities, reports TechCrunch.
Paris has been one of the most heavily regulated markets for e-scooter rentals, and companies have pointed to it as an example of how they can work with cities. Despite the maximum speed limit and the requirement to use special parking zones, Paris has become the first city to vote to completely ban the rental of electric scooters. In a referendum on Sunday, 89% of Paris residents who visited the polling stations supported this decision.
Three companies with contracts for work in Paris will have to move their fleets of 15,000 electric scooters out of the city by September 1.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, initially welcomed the appearance of rental electric scooters in the city. She sought to make Paris a more livable city, where important infrastructure facilities can be reached in 15 minutes and implemented a policy of creating new cycle paths and pedestrian-friendly areas instead of motorways and parking lots. However, the sharing of e-scooters has caused significant opposition from many city residents, who have often complained about reckless driving and cluttered sidewalks.
Mayor Hidalgo blamed electric scooters for many accidents in the city, also saying that the business model of rental companies is too expensive to be sustainable, as a 10-minute ride costs about 5 euros. She also noted that rental scooters are not as climate-friendly as she would like.
Lime, Dott, and Tier said in a joint statement that low voter turnout affected the results of the referendum. They blamed the limited number of polling stations and the lack of electronic voting, saying the combination “heavily skewed toward older age groups, which has widened the gap between pros and cons.”
The results of the referendum are not binding, so Mayor Hidalgo could still decide to keep electric scooters in the city based on low voter turnout. The numbers show that e-scooter rentals are popular, with Lime previously saying 90% of its fleet in Paris is used every day.
The ban will not affect e-bikes offered by ride-sharing companies, which will remain in the city. Similarly, the ban will not affect private electric scooters, of which more than 700,000 were sold last year, according to the French Transport Ministry.