190311 e scooters
RTA in Dubai is currently considering the technical and legislative requirements to allow the operation of electric scooters. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi residents can now rent e-scooters as a legal means of transport in the emirate, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) announced on Wednesday.

In addition to this, companies can also register with the transport sector regulator to offer e-scooter rentals after obtaining the required permits.

The use of private e-scooters has been on the rise in the capital in recent months, but no official statistics exist yet on how many vehicles are in use. However, Wednesday’s announcement is expected to make e-scooters a popular form of sustainable and environmentally friendly public transport by encouraging rental companies to register with the ITC.

E-scooter rules

To ensure safety, the ITC has announced that these scooters should travel no faster than 15-20km/h and use paths designated for pedestrians and cyclists. The pilot phase of the project will permit rentals in Corniche Street and Khalifa Bin Zayed Street in the capital, and after about six months to a year, the ITC will study the public demand for the service in order to determine the need for expansion.

The regulator clarified that e-scooter rentals will offer first and last mile connections, making the public commute to various destinations easier and more cost-effective. The vehicles are internationally considered to be environmentally friendly; in Abu Dhabi, rental firms will soon link public bus stations to main destinations like shopping malls and residential areas.

Once registered, rental companies will make use of smart applications to allow users to rent the vehicles.

The ITC statement specified that e-scooter use will be limited to designated areas that are away from streets. Users also cannot block traffic flow, endanger pedestrians or park in undesignated parking bays.

Dubai e-scooters

This is the first official statement permitting e-scooter rentals in Abu Dhabi.

In Dubai, transport regulator the Roads Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) banned electric scooter rental companies in March on grounds of safety, and California-headquartered Qwikly Mobility had to discontinue services after only operating for 10 weeks. When it was operational, users had to pay Dh3 to unlock a scooter and 50 fils per minute to ride.

However, there are talks that regulations could soon be put into place, and that services in Dubai will be authorised and reinstated.

Abu Dhabi e-scooters

15-20km/h maximum speed

Pilot phase permits use only in Corniche Street and Khalifa Bin Zayed Street

ITC to announce registered companies shortly

Users will have to register on app, then scan QR code to use e-scooter