It comes on the heels of an April referendum in which Parisians voted to ban battery-powered scooters, confirming that many consider them an intolerable nuisance.
Self-service electric scooters, which were banned from the French capital by popular vote, are enjoying their final day in Paris on Thursday, marking the end of five years of controversial use, much to the dismay of their users.
From September 1, Paris will become the first European capital to completely ban two-wheeled self-service vehicles. Many Parisians are tired of seeing them meander among pedestrians, even when limited to 10 km/h in certain areas, or standing in the middle of sidewalks, and a number of accidents have been attributed to them.
The three operators, Lime, Tier and Dott, will lose their permission to occupy public spaces after an unprecedented “vote” in early April. The “no” vote received almost 90 percent of the votes, but only 7.46 percent of the people registered on the electoral list cast their ballots.
The socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, herself campaigned for a “no” vote, stressing that removing the scooters would reduce the “nuisance”.
Since August, 15,000 motorcycles have been gradually taken off the streets – and only a few were available on Thursday, particularly in central Paris – to be sent to other cities for repair.
Of the 5,000 motorcycles produced by the German company Tier, a third will remain in the Paris region, in the 80 towns around Marne-la-Vallée or Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The rest will go mainly to Germany.
Dott will send its scooters to Belgium and Tel Aviv. The green Lime bikes will go to Lille, London, Copenhagen and several German cities.
“We’ve turned the page on scooters” for the entire Paris region, Xavier Meirelles, director of public affairs for Lime in California, told reporters.
“It saddens me because I think it’s nice to be able to get around like this, going from right to left without the stress of being in the car, or being stuck,” says Valerie Rinkle, a user of the service.
On the other hand, Anas Aloula, another customer, says, “I think it’s safer to stop here and end up cycling again, or if people take the bus or public transportation.”
In Paris, about 400,000 people chose a motorcycle for transportation in 2022, according to operators.
Operators are counting on their customers switching to bikes, which are already being offered by everyone, which would enable them to avoid redundancy, at least for the time being.
Only at Dott, which will move just about ten of its 50 employees from motorbikes to bicycles, is a job protection plan (PSE) in the process of being validated.
“It’s a big page to turn for Tier, but rather than wallow in nostalgia, we prefer to look forward,” explains Clément Pitt, head of the company’s operations in France, referring to the 5,000 bikes still available.
“The development of cycling is booming” with “very interesting prospects,” says Mr Meirelles of Lime, which supplies 10,000 bikes.
But this method of transportation is unlikely to gain mass support.
For tourists, “a bicycle is an alternative” but “it’s not the same thing, it’s bigger and heavier…and it’s not very flexible”, complains Amanda Rollins, an American influencer with 740,000 TikTok subscribers and a big fan of motorbikes. .
Some regular users might choose to buy a motorcycle, or take advantage of an alternative daily, half-day or weekly rental offer, such as one announced Wednesday by Volt, the distributor of electric motorcycles, scooters and scooters.
“It’s not self-serving at all,” company founder Gregory Coelho told reporters.
The company, which launched the idea before the vote in Paris, wants to offer “those who use self-service bicycles on a daily basis” and “even tourists” the opportunity to rent them – “also with a view to the Olympics”. “.
He believes that “the end of free-floating will greatly accelerate rental demand,” and wants to create a network of 1,000 to 2,000 motorcycles, especially “at all the crucial points where there has been this very high demand” for self-service.