Starting this summer 1,000 electric scooters will be available for rental in the city centre.
The electric bikes, equivalent to mopeds with 50cc engines, will be available from 7am until 1am daily under a scheme managed by Cityscoot, the first company in Europe to provide self-service scooters.
Cityscoot has been testing 50 of the scooters since last June with the support of city authorities and the results have been “very positive”, the mayor's office said.
“In the last three months, 1,200 testers have completed nearly 4,500 journeys,” the office said, adding that 65 percent of those who took part said they would use the scheme regularly.
In a city where motorbikes and mopeds make up a sizeable chunk of daily traffic, 21 percent said they would be happy to switch exclusively to the more environmentally-friendly electric bikes.
The mopeds will become available in two waves, with the first 500 scooters ready for use in July and the next 500 in September.
Unlike Autolib’ and Vélib’, Paris’s car and bicycle rental stations, Cityscoot will have no rental terminals, no key, and no magnetic card. For €3 ($3.25) each 15 minutes, you can rent a scooter using an app on your smartphone. The app also indicates the location of the scooter and how much juice it has left.
You can even have a scooter delivered to you anywhere in Paris in about an hour.
There’s also no need to find a parking spot dedicated solely to scooters; you can park anywhere authorized to two-wheelers within the free-floating zone.
The scooters can cover about 105 kilometres, about five hours of driving, before they need a recharge. They also come with an extra battery to recharge the scooter for another 40 to 50 kilometers.
Insurance is included in the rental and accessories such as helmets and driving gloves are available. A deposit is required at the time of rental but it’s not cashed or debited from your account during the rental.
Depending on your needs, your age, and what kind of driver’s license you have, there are three scooter options: the 50cc, the 125cc, and the maxi-scooter.
The 125cc scooter accelerates faster and can go up to about 110 km per hour. But in order to rent this one, you need either: a special scooter license, a regular driver’s license that’s more than two years old along with proof of attendance of a 125cc scooter training day, or a regular driver’s license with insurance for a 125cc from between 2009 and 2011.
Then there’s the maxi-scooter that you can take on the highway with a maximum speed of about 140 km per hour. Like the 125cc, you’ll need a license for this one.
This newest enterprise is endorsed by Anne Hidalgo, the capital’s mayor, who is pushing to reduce the number of cars and the pollution levels in Paris.
By Katie Warren/AFP