Dubai: Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) confirmed on Wednesday that it had banned electric scooter rental companies, but not the private ownership of such vehicles.

Gulf News reported on Tuesday that the city’s transport regulator had recently ordered companies like KIWIride, Qwikly, and Skoot Mobility to halt their operations.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the RTA said that “considering public safety is RTA’s priority, and to regulate vehicle use in the city, RTA has issued a circular to all electric scooter rental companies to stop their activities.”

This ban would be in effect until “new regulations are in force, based on the findings of a study being conducted by RTA.”

Gulf News understands that the regulator has enlisted the services of a consultant to assist it with this study.

Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA, met with the scooter companies yesterday, according to the statement, to discuss the ban on the hop-on, hop-off form of transport.

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The decision has thrown the plans of as many as nine companies into doubt, and follows similar rulings in France and Spain, which both moved to regulate the powered scooters in October of last year.

In recent months, a number of companies have launched electric scooter rental services in Dubai, deploying dozens of the scooters, which can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, throughout the city.

The scooters are rented via a downloadable app on a user’s mobile phone, and cost around Dh2.99 to activate, and then 59 fils per minute from there on.

Once a rider has completed their journey, they are able to leave scooter on the sidewalk without needing to dock it in a special location, and end the ride via the app on their mobile phone.

Overnight, the rental company collects the scooters from around the city and recharges them, before deploying them again around the city the following morning.