Scoot over, cars: e-scooter trial takes off

Perth’s central business district is about to become a lot quicker to navigate with the launch of an e-scooter trial.

It’s hoped the scheme will be a more sustainable mode of transport. 

E-scooters are becoming a popular way to navigate around Perth. Photo: Eleanor Forte.

Curtin professor of sustainability Peter Newman says many people already use their own e-scooters to travel through the city. 

“It will be a bigger part of our transport system and they will grow and grow,” he says.

Mr Newman raised concerns around the rules and maintenance of the shareable scooter trial. 

“They often get abandoned,” he says.

Mr Newman says a majority of users of the shareable e-scooters in the CBD will be tourist.

He says if locals want to use a scooter, they’ll buy their own.

Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas announced Perth city will begin a two-year trial of the scooters. 

Perth-based Jarryd Vrcic is a first year university student who has been using an e-scooter for two years. 

Jarryd Vrcic, E-scooter user of 2 years. Photo: Eleanor Forte.

“It allows me to still use public transport but keeps me very mobile and not restricted to having to walk around everywhere,” he says.

Working a minimum wage job allowed Jarryd to buy a $600 electric scooter, which he uses to ride locally and take on public transport.

“If I were to buy a car the cheapest it would be at least be in the thousands,” he says.

The public e-scooter share system has already appeared in other parts of Perth, including Subiaco.

While they are often cheaper than taking an Uber or taxi, they are still not cheaper than exclusively using other public transport. 

Bird and Neuron Mobility Australia are the two providers of e-scooters in Perth. 

On the new scooter program, riders will pay $1 to initially unlock the e-scooter if using a Bird e-scooter. Users will be charged 45 cents a minute.

Scooters operated by Neuron will be charged 51 cents each minute.

The maximum a rider will pay to use an e-scooter in Perth is more than public transport, but still more affordable than a 20-minute Uber ride. Infographic: Eleanor Forte.

UWA E-Rideables Society president Parham Bahrami says e-scooters are “way cheaper than Uber”.

President of the UWA E-Rideables Society Parham Bahrami. Photo: Eleanor Forte.

“I just can’t find a parking [spot] in the morning, I already had an e-scooter, so I decided that I should park somewhere further away and then just ride in,” he says.

 “I don’t have to pay for parking or go through the stress of trying to find parking.”

E-scooter riders are enthusiastic about the mode of transport. Video: Eleanor Forte.

While e-scooters can be used in the central business district, some areas will be off limits to riders, including Kings Park.