Marseille puts the brakes on scooter chaos with licence restrictions

Marseille has become the first major European city to restrict licences for electric scooter firms, granting just three companies licences to operate within the city.

Marseille puts the brakes on scooter chaos with licence restrictions
Voi is one of three companies selected. Photo: Voi

The companies who won tenders – Voi, Bird and Ciric – will each be allowed to put 2,000 electric scooters onto the streets of the southern port city, under the strict control of the local authority.

Only operators who had a local team on the ground, a commitment to preserve public space and clear line of communication with city officials were considered. 

“I wanted good, regular contact with the operators, so choosing three companies seemed like enough to me, unlike other cities which have 18 of them,” Jean-Luc Ricca, Marseille's municipal parking and traffic adviser, told local media.

The popularity of e-scooters, or trotinettes, has rocketed across Europe in recent years. Although a convenient and eco-friendly means of transport, they've also brought with them problems including safety issues and vandalism.

In Marseille there has also been such a problem of people dumping scooters in the harbour that groups of volunteer divers have been forced to retrieve them.

READ ALSO How to avoid falling foul of Paris' new rules on electric scooters

Photo: AFP

One person who will be watching developments in Marseille with interest is Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who announced earlier this year that she wanted to cut the number of operators from 12 to three in a bid to end the “anarchy of scooters”.

There are as many as 20,000 scooters in use in the French capital currently.

In May, Paris officials asked all scooter companies to sign a voluntary 'good conduct' agreement, and warned them that a limit on the number of firms being allowed to operate would be the next step.

Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder of Voi, said: “Marseille has rightly decided that e-scooter provision in the city should be closely regulated so that citizens can enjoy the benefits of this liberating new form of mobility, safely and responsibly…if cities are serious about cutting pollution and congestion and encouraging people out of cars, they should look closely at Marseille's model.”

A ban on riding e-scooters on pavements came into effect across France in September 2019.

The same month, a teenager riding an e-scooter was killed in Paris, after being hit by a car. His death was the latest in a series of fatal accidents involving scooters, following similar incidents in Paris, Reims and Yvelines.



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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.