Rental e-scooters to get designated parking bays across different localities

Users who fail to park rental e-scooters in designated parking areas will be charged extra under new rules being formulated

Rental e-scooters have become a feature in most localities
Rental e-scooters have become a feature in most localities

Rental e-scooters will be getting designated parking bays, and users will be charged if the vehicles are not properly parked.

The decision is part of a reform being carried out by Transport Malta to ensure better regularisation and safety of e-scooters.

MaltaToday had reported that following legal amendments, Transport Malta officers will be allowed to enforce applicable legislation.

Speaking to MaltaToday, Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia said the ministry is currently engaging in talks with service operators so that designated parking bays will be placed around a number of localities across the island.

Farrugia said that when users park rental scooters outside the designated parking bays, the deposit would not be returned to the customers or the users’ credit card continues to be billed.

Bolt, the largest operator on the island, charges customers €1 to unlock the vehicle, and a minute rate of €0.21. Users can also reserve a scooter for a later time. The application also allows users to report illegally parked scooters.

The company had also said it is aware of improper scooter parking, and its team is regularly working to introduce new features which prevent illegalities.

“We recently developed the AI parking verification feature for scooters, and are currently testing it in small cities and we hope to release it soon in Malta. It has been developed in-house by Bolt’s engineering team. The feature automates the process of analysing scooter parking pictures. The real-time verification means that Bolt will help improve scooter parking habits,” a spokesperson had said.

The company is also working on a feature which only allows users to park in specific zones, thanks to an inbuilt system in the scooter.

The debate surrounding rental scooters hit the spotlight over the past weeks, with a number of people taking to social media to vent their anger at the illegally parked scooters.

Mayors of localities in the eastern region, which includes Sliema, Gżira and St Julian's, publicly called for better regulation and enforcement since scooter use in their localities was causing an inconvenience for pavement users.

Nationalist MP Adrian Delia had also joined the social media mob against rental scooters, calling on followers to send over photos of scooters parked illegally.

Delia had said the PN doesn’t believe the issue should be resolved by local authorities, but through a nation-wide effort by government. “It is necessary that although these means are affordable for wide use, they are regulated in such a way that security is guaranteed for both users and the rest of the people, and no inconvenience is created,” Delia said.

Scooters have proved an invaluable means of travel for short distances, especially in localities where parking is a problem. However, they are also used by young people to joyride around localities.