Although the police has announced a total ban of electric scooters (eScooters) on public roads, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) isn’t dismissing its usage just yet. According to a report by The Star, DBKL is carrying out a feasibility study to determine if eScooters will be allowed in the city.
It was mentioned that a task force is currently collecting data from various government agencies including the Ministry of Transport, Road Transport Department, the police and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS). It added that a decision will be announced by the middle of this month.
According to KL Mayor Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah, DBKL has been approached by eScooter companies to seek permission to use the personal mobility vehicles at designated areas and zones in the city. He said the study was crucial since the KL police has banned individuals from riding eScooters on public roads from 1st January 2021 with exception for designated areas which include parks and shopping centres. Offenders can be fined RM300 for the first offence. Meanwhile, repeated offenders can be fined up to RM1,000 or be jailed up to 3 months under the Road Transportation Act 1987.
Datuk Mahadi said DBKL does not what to repeat the same situation they had with oBike where it became a failure and a logistical nightmare. DBKL had partnered with the yellow bike sharing platform during the 2017 SEA Games and Asean Para Games.
After its sudden shutdown, DBKL had to collect the abandoned bicycles from all over the city and some of them have been dumped at rivers, drains and back alleys. It was reported that DBKL had confiscated 248 eScooters between September to December 2020 from Bukit Bintang, Jalan Ampang and KL Sentral.
eScooter sharing platform, Beam, has been in talks with DBKL. According to their vice-president, Christopher Hilton, they have been supportive of a regulated solution for eScooters and they hope to continue working with all stakeholders. Beam has admitted that some of its scooters were confiscated over the past 18 months but it was never more than 20 at a time.
To promote responsible usage, Beam has implemented a virtual docking system that track riders and incentivise users that park properly at designated locations. It added that 90% of Beam trips have ended in pre-allocated spots. The eScooter sharing platform also offered DBKL a 24-hour hotline to report any misplaced scooters and they have pledged to collect back these scooters with a 90-minute response time.
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