E-scooters or electronic scooters, which are stand-up scooters powered by a small electric motor, are popular in major cities around the world Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Taking public transport in Dubai has now become more convenient as around 1,500 e-scooters, regarded as a first- and last-mile solution, have been recently introduced at five busy districts across the city.

E-scooters or electronic scooters, which are stand-up scooters powered by a small electric motor, are popular in major cities around the world. They are conveniently used in the beginning or end of an individual’s public transport journey.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority says the pilot phase of e-scooter rental in Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai Internet City, 2nd of December Street, and Al Rigga in Deira will eventually pave the way for a citywide roll-out of the handy electric two-wheelers.

Hussain Mohammad Al Banna, executive director at RTA’s Traffic Department at RTA, told Gulf News: “We are going to study the behavioural and safety aspects of the residents. Based on this, we will introduce more areas or go on with the citywide roll-out of e-scooters, after thorough assessment of the trial period.”

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An e-scooter station on 2nd December Street Image Credit: Ahmed Ramazan/Gulf News

“This (pilot phase) is part of our strategy to enhance public transport in Dubai by making it sustainable and compatible with international practices. Regulations have been put in place, with safety of residents as top priority and that is why we are taking a secure and conservative approach in rolling out e-scooters across the city,” he underlined.

Al Banna said the RTA has partnered with five operators, including three international companies (Careem, Lime and Tier) and two local companies (Arnab and Skurrt) to supply the e-scooters during the trial phase. Gulf News takes a ride on e-scooter

Gulf News tested one of the scooters owned by Arnab at Al Rigga Metro Station. Safety is a priority as a dedicated lane and road signages have been put in place. Only 14 years and above can rent and use the scooter. Wearing face mask is required. Hands should be sanitised while disposable hand gloves are available in a small pouch attached to each e-scooter.

Operators also assured stringent safety measures against coronavirus COVID-19 are being implemented, including carrying out frequent disinfection to its fleet of scooters. “We believe that during these unprecedented times, our business concept will be put to best use as it will reinforce social distancing measures by promoting alternative yet safe and sustainable ways of transport,” Lawrence Leuschner, CEO and co-founder of Tier, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

Only one rider per e-scooter is allowed and the 20 kmph speed limit must be observed. All scooters are geo-fenced, meaning it cannot be used outside the designated areas and police officers will apprehend any rider using the pay-as-you-use e-scooters outside the five assigned areas. Al Banna noted two e-scooter companies operate in each area to give users a choice.

How to use the e-scooter

Each company (Careem, Lime, Tier, Arnab and Skurrt) has each own app available on Google Play or the App Store. To use any of their scooters, one has to download first the app then sign up (a valid debit or credit card is required). After logging in successfully, the user should scan the QR code or enter the scooter number.

Here are some important things to remember before using the e-scooter:

The operator will ask for your card details. To ensure it is valid, an initial amount of Dh4 will be deducted but will be returned to your account after validation. No money will actually be charged for this automated process. The charge is Dh3 to unlock the e-scooter and 60 fils per minute of use. Cost varies for each e-scooter operator

Before unlocking the scooter ensure the scooter has enough battery life to cover the distance

you wish to travel. Internet access is required to use the e-scooter to ensure tracking of e-scooters. If connection is lost, the rider can still continue but internet access should be restored at the end of the ride. At the end of the journey, press the ‘end ride’ button on the app and park the e-scooter at designate parking zones.