Orange e-scooters turning up where they’re not meant to be, but proving a hit | The Canberra Times

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The bright orange e-scooters zipping down pathways may be the most visible change to Canberra transport since the tram first reached Gungahlin Place. Early numbers show the city has been fast to take up the new e-scooter service. But e-scooter operator Neuron Mobility has been forced to update its geofencing technology to prevent users from parking on national land. More than 18,000 Canberrans have downloaded an app used to hire the vehicles. The city has registered more than 31,000 trips since the service arrived on September 19. Results have surpassed expectations for Neuron, the first of two licensed operators introducing the vehicles to the ACT. Neuron said many riders were making trips they wouldn’t otherwise have made, and had been travelling across the city and Belconnen. E-scooters are permitted in Canberra’s city, inner north, inner south, parliamentary zone, and Belconnen, controlled through geofencing technology preventing them from use in prohibited areas. The agency managing the ACT’s Commonwealth land, the National Capital Authority, said the company had resolved a technical issue with geofencing for e-scooters since they were introduced. E-scooter riders had left them in areas unintended by the authority, however Neuron had refined their geofencing to include no-parking restrictions on national land. Sally Barnes, the National Capital Authority’s chief executive, told a parliamentary hearing last week the vehicles in early stages had been “turning up in places where they weren’t meant to be”. “But the company’s been quite good in coming to pick them up and the geocaching is designed so if you don’t drop it off on a designated place, it keeps taking money from your credit card, so there’s a financial incentive to do the right thing,” she said. The National Capital Authority, which licenses the e-scooter service along with the ACT government, said the agency would continue to review with Neuron how the vehicles were best used and could make adjustments in the future. E-scooter users are prohibited from parking the vehicles by Lake Burley Griffin between the National Gallery and National Library, and along Federation Mall leading to Parliament House. The vehicles reduce their maximum speed from 25km/h to 15km/h on shared paths in the parliamentary zone, and users cannot end their trip in a no parking zone. READ MORE: Ms Barnes told MPs last week the e-scooter service could work well and had been popular in Canberra. “We’ve done a risk assessment and we’ve put mitigation measures in place to manage any of the risks including speed,” she said. The ACT government’s Transport Canberra and City Services said it had detected only some complaints about parking locations of e-scooters, which had been quickly resolved by Neuron. Neuron said it was working with the directorate and the NCA to set up its operating zone. Neuron and Ridebeam, the second company licensed to run an e-scooter service, will operate 750 of the vehicles each but will start with reduced numbers. A Transport Canberra and City Services spokesperson said Ridebeam was expected to begin its service on Thursday.

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