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Paris after the Trottinettes

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What will happen in the cosmopolitan city after the e-scooter rental ban and how does it affect the local strive for a transportation turnaround?

Rental scooters parked at the side of the road in Paris in 2021 (cc-by-sa 4.0 Chabe01)

Rental scooters parked at the roadside in 2021 in the 12th arrondissement of Paris | Image copyright: CC-BY-SA 4.0 Chabe01

After the much-discussed citizens' referendum at the beginning of April, in which almost 89% of Parisians voted against e-scooter rental, the ban on all electric scooter rental systems came into force on 1 September 2023. The turnout was low at 4.5%. This makes Paris the first European city to abolish e-scooter sharing, after the service was introduced there in 2018, also as one of the first European cities to do so. For the city, it is the end of a long debate about blocked pavements and road safety. Providers had previously tried to mitigate the problems by, for example, putting number plates on the scooters or only renting them to adults. After the vote, the industry warned that Paris was hindering the traffic turnaround with this step and that many more private e-scooters could be used in the city, which would be more difficult to regulate.

Most recently, three e-scooter sharing providers were active in Paris: Dott, Lime and Tier Mobility. They had gradually withdrawn their total of 15,000 scooters in the weeks before the ban and moved them to other areas of operation, such as London, Lille, Tel-Aviv or the other municipalities of Île-de-France. Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines had only introduced a scooter rental system in May this year with Tier as the operator. The latter has announced that it will bring some scooters to Germany. The city of Paris is now planning to use the 2,500 parking zones that had been set up in Paris specifically for the rental scooters for bicycles and to convert some of the sites into small green spaces.

In 2022, about 450,000 people per month were still using Parisian e-scooters - on average almost three times per day. Paris was one of the most profitable cities for the providers, their loss of revenue is said to be around 12 million euros for the rest of the year. They are now trying to switch to bikesharing services. Compared to last year, they have increased their fleets from just under 12,000 to about 18,500 bikes (of which 10,000 are currently with Lime, 5,000 with Dott and 3,500 with Tier). With the bikes requiring more frequent maintenance and being harder to transport, providers will likely have to cut into profit margins. As free-floating providers, they also compete with the public bike rental system Vélib' Métropole, whose more than 20,000 station-based rental bikes are publicly funded. Vélib' Métropole is therefore particularly cheap. In addition, there are discounted offers for young people and people in need of social assistance. In the first quarter of 2023, the bikes were rented out an average of 3.4 million times, i.e. more than five times per day and bike.

Paris has promoted cycling in recent years, also increasingly in the corona pandemic. Instead of five, people in Paris now use bicycles for seven per cent of their journeys. Compared to the previous year, the counting stations recorded 37% more bicycles and a 5.5% decrease in motor traffic in the first trimester of the year. It remains to be seen how the sharing market will develop in Paris.


Jan Klein