Hire trial of 300 e-scooters to begin in Geraldton this week
Riders zipping through Geraldton on purple e-scooters will soon be a regular sight, with a hire trial set to launch on Friday.
The new program will allow users to take a scooter, pay as they ride and park when they please.
The scooters are owned by Beam, which operates across Australia and several other countries.
Users can find and activate a scooter via Beam’s app. The scooters cost $1 to unlock and $0.49 per minute onwards.
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There will be 300 scooters in the initial trial, which will be available in the city centre and foreshore, as well as suburbs including Beachlands, Mt Tarcoola, Wandina and Beresford.
City of Greater Geraldton mayor Shane Van Styn said he was enthusiastic about the trial after the council gave it the green light for 15 months earlier this year.
“We see Beam’s arrival to Greater Geraldton as an innovative step forwards that will boost tourism, the economy and also help us reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.
Beam said its service would be a huge boost to local businesses and the community. It said in other cities 60 per cent of their rides resulted in a purchase and that more than half were for work and study commutes.
“We’re confident we will see that in Geraldton,” head of brand and communications Michelle Leong said.
There have been e-scooter related accidents in Perth in recent months but Beam said safety was their top priority.
Ms Leong acknowledged concern about a new type of technology was “completely understandable” but the company had put in many measures to protect riders and pedestrians.
They included triple brakes, inbuilt speed limitations, in-person and in-app rider education and safety coaches who would enforce safe riding.
“There is a huge amount of technology here, as opposed to personal e-scooters,” she said.
Beam said it also has features to address scooters being dumped in inconvenient or unsafe places.
Riders will be encouraged to leave their scooters at designated parking spots and its team will collect abandoned scooters.
The Shire of Esperance has trialled Beam’s scooters since December 2021 and president Ian Mickel said community feedback had been very positive.
“I believe it’s gone very well; people seem to enjoy them,” Cr Mickel said.
While there had been some accidents, he said there had been no serious injuries, crediting Beam’s safety measures.
Likewise, while some had done the wrong thing, he said the vast majority of riders rode safely and did not leave the scooters in inconvenient or unsafe places.
Geraldton joins Esperance, Bunbury and the Perth cities of Stirling and Rockingham in introducing e-scooter hire programs.
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