The city of Frankfurt set stricter rules for e-scooters. However, the providers criticize fixed return stations as “useless”.
Frankfurt – The expected strict rules for e-scooters do not cause enthusiasm among all rental companies. At least two of the five companies do not see Frankfurt’s way of stopping the anarchy on electric scooters as the best. They warn: strict rules do not break the desired result.
By the start of the season, the department of mobility councilor Stefan Majer (Greens) will introduce fixed return stations for the electric scooters, initially in the city center. In this way, the city will get the chaos under control with the vehicles that are often parked wildly, which annoys pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. The city wants to classify the e-scooters as special use. Rental companies must apply for a permit.
Frankfurt: “New statutes will have no effect on e-scooter offerings”
“The new special use statute will most likely have no effect on the e-scooter offer in Frankfurt and will not solve the problems,” warns Patrick Grundmann, spokesman for Tier from Berlin. This shows Tier’s experiences from over 175 cities in 18 countries. A special use or stricter requirements “are not expedient on their own”. They lead to restrictions, such as a reduction in supply in the outskirts.
The alternative: “Tenders have proven to be a good and efficient solution,” says Grundmann. This allows the city to select providers who meet the desired criteria. “For example, this could be integration with local public transport, providing the entire city area with a mobility service, or supporting the city’s mobility and climate goals.”
Frankfurt: Provider sees e-scooters on the outskirts as important
Provider Voi from Stockholm also finds tenders better. In this way, the city can ensure good scooter availability even in decentralized city areas, explains company spokesman Caspar Spinnen. Especially on the outskirts, the scooters are important to supplement local transport. I also see that with our own users: “Many rentals begin or end in the smaller parts of the city at the public transport stops,” explains Spinnen.
At the same time, a call for tenders can slow down competition. Voi should probably think of dumping prices, which lead in particular to risky and reckless fun rides by bullies. Voi thinks the regulation planned by the city is good “to make the offer smoother” and that it is “better to control from both sides”.
Frankfurt: E-scooters are well received in the city
Regardless of all the criticism, the electric scooters are very well received: From 2019 to 2021, demand at Voi in Frankfurt increased sixfold, says Spinnen. If the number of vehicles is regulated, providers would have to concentrate on the most lucrative locations in the city center. The most popular rental location at Voi is far outside of the city. Where, however, the speaker does not want to reveal spiders. Is it the Höchst train station? Voi says meaningfully: no comment.
Full support for the city’s plans comes from US rental company Lime. It is assumed “that we will find good, effective solutions here,” says company spokesman Bodo von Braunmühl. Lime welcomes the introduction of the station-based downtown parking system. “In this way we are further increasing the acceptance of e-scooters and at the same time maintaining the flexible character of micro-mobility.”
The Estonian provider Bolt also welcomes the introduction of the rules in Frankfurt. But one would have to “examine exactly which measures have positive effects and which remain ineffective,” says Bolt Germany boss Balthasar Scheder, who is responsible for e-scooters. He clearly contradicts the colleagues from Tier and Voi in terms of tendering: This has demonstrably not improved the situation in other cities, but has a negative effect on consumers due to the lack of competition. “The key to the optimal integration of e-scooters into the urban mobility mix are special usage fees paired with upper fleet limits,” says Scheder. Industry pioneer Bird from California was the only provider represented in Frankfurt not to respond to a request from the editors. (Dennis Pfeiffer-Goldmann)
In June 2021, chaos threw e-scooters in Frankfurt into the Main.