New electric scooter parking spots have started appearing in central Tallinn, set aside for the two companies operating rental services to the public: Tuul and Bolt. The parking spaces are free-of-charge and, while not mandatory for riders, their use is encouraged.
Bolt spokesperson Kristiin Jets said Tallinn city government had come up with the idea.
“The parking spaces are primarily intended for rental service providers, so they can park the scooters after maintenance in the areas and tidy up the cityscape,” Jets said.
Up until now, ranks of tightly-parked scooters would appear early in the morning; users themselves are required to photograph a parked scooter at the end of hire, to ensure it is not blocking sidewalks and other thoroughfares.
At the same time, Kristiin Jets said she hoped renters would make use of the parking spots, which numbered close to 1,400, as well.
The number of e-scooters has been steadily creeping up since Bolt first rolled out it service in summer 2019. After the winter break, 2020 saw several competitor firms join the market, though of these, only Tuul remained.
Jaan Kekisev, CEO of Tuul, said that the public were increasingly using such spaces, adding that his company would encourage this, having previously had issues.
“We have repeatedly encountered parking space problems,” he said.
Kristiin Jets said that the overall number of e-scooters available had been agreed with the city government, while supply would be adjusted in line with demand and in conjunction with the city government.
Obtaining an e-scooter in central Tallinn during daytime usually only requires a short walk. Parked, available scooters are located, and can be reserved, via a smartphone app, which is also used to start and finish the trip.
Some zones, marked on the app’s map, are off-limits for parking, while some parts of the Old Town and environs have a lower speed limit than the 20 km/h everywhere else. A scooter’s speed is capped automatically.
An agreement was signed in spring between the two companies and the City of Tallinn. Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov (Center) said at the time that the sector had required some development, while parking spaces set aside would make the city environment more ordered.
The change also means that the two companies are no longer obliged to retrieve e-scooters at 11 p.m., as they have been. While any recharging and other required maintenance would be generally carried out overnight, this meant in effect a curfew for use even with scooters with plenty of battery charge.
This situation has now been lifted, Ott Heinapuu, City of Tallinn communications department notes.
Jaan Kekisev at Tuul said that while a minimum e-scooter figure had not been set, a single operator could not have more than a thousand e-scooters taking up the new parking spaces. (ERR/Business World Magazine)