Prohibited during rush hour. No more electric scooters in the Seville metro during the busiest hours of travellers. The Andalusian capital is not the first to apply restrictions on the underground to this type of vehicle but, above all, in the background a more serious situation is revealed: we have serious problems to accommodate intermodal mobility.
Out of here. At least Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Also from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. In other words, at all peak hours on weekdays, scooters will be restricted in the Seville metro, just when it makes the most sense for a large part of users.
It does not matter folding electric scooter or without folding. This vehicle will have the same restrictions as bicycles, which since 2009 were not allowed access to the Seville metro at these times either. Interestingly, bikes that measure less than 100X60X25 cm do have open doors.
A controversial measure. As expected, the voices opposed to this measure have not been hard to come by. In the Diario de Sevilla they collect a good number of passengers affected by the decision that include each and every one of the advantages that they enjoyed until now: they moved to the metro station in a clean means of transport and much faster than walking.
The alternative now is to leave the scooter tied up at the entrance to the Seville metro stations. At a dozen stations, scooters can be parked next to stations for free electric recharging. At another 21 stops, scooters will be allowed to park in the same spaces reserved for bicycle parking.
not the first. No, the one in Seville is not the first metro that hinders the transport of electric scooters or bicycles. In Catalonia, although as a temporary measure, boarding buses and trains dependent on the community with electric scooters has been prohibited, after registering a fire on a train on November 17.
In Madrid, however, no rules have been established for the transfer of electric scooters in the metro, but bicycles (unless they are foldable) are prohibited from passing at peak hours and, at other times, only A maximum of two bicycles may travel in the head car and another two in the tail car.
In Valencia, the transfer of electric scooters is allowed in any case (preferably folded and under the seat) and bicycles are only allowed access to the surface network on weekdays. In Bilbao, as in Valencia, only workers can prohibit the passage with these means of transport due to a large influx of passengers.
The challenge of intermodality. What the prohibition of the Seville metro hides is the challenge that intermodal mobility supposes in a city, which, basically, is also linked to the urban conception that the institutions want to have and develop. The DGT, for example, is committed to insurance and its own regulation of cars. On Renfe, traveling with an electric scooter or bicycle is not easy and the requirements vary depending on the train and the route.
And at the same time that the obstacles for citizens to use vehicles that are cleaner than the car are advancing, the Government is pressing to increase the restrictions in the center of the cities, with ZBE that, for the moment, will be applied by a minority of municipalities. In the article in Diario de Sevilla, Sonia, a student, summed up the situation with the following sentence: “are the scooters the problem? Why don’t they increase the frequency of trains or put more double trains into service or even triples? It is more than evident that there is a high demand”
A problem to be solved. What happens if we look at other European cities? That we are facing a problem that has never occurred before. In the Netherlands, it is common for large cities to have huge bicycle parking spaces at the entrance to train stations. They park it there for hours and, at their destination, they get on another. It is the main reason why there are more bicycles than citizens.
But in the rest of the countries, the scooter has added to intermodal mobility many people who were not willing to take the bicycle. And now we find that we don’t know how to solve the problem because its use has exploded in Europe and continues to grow. Spain is also one of the countries where electric scooters are having the most pull.
In Berlin, however, the use of bicycles and scooters is allowed at any time, as long as there is space for the transport of these vehicles. In Paris, however, cycling is prohibited on the metro and buses, and train services have significant time limits.
The public that pushes the private. But, above all, the electric scooter has a problem that a traditional bicycle does not have (but the electric one does): its batteries can explode. And, in fact, it is the reason why their transfer on Catalan trains has been rethought and why alternatives are being sought in New York, where these accidents are becoming common.
The ideal, therefore, would be for passengers to be able to combine their own electric scooters with public transport and for it to adapt to the needs of citizens. However, the data seems to work against this option. In London they were also banned from the tube as a result of two fires.
As a consequence, if leaving the scooter parked at the station is not an option and transferring it on public transport is not an option, is the latter pushing for a massive use of shared rental services? Of course, it seems the only alternative to which we are heading if personal mobility vehicles continue to receive restrictions on their use in public transport.
Foto | Yiting He
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