The Tel Aviv municipality will soon publish regulatory documents for personal and shared transportation in the city. This refers to companies that rent out e-scooters and bicycles for use on the city streets. These services are relatively new in Tel Aviv.
The document, slated for publication in early June, will contain the first binding rules for these companies. A company failing to comply with the rules will not be allowed to operate in the city. The principal innovation will be obligating the companies to provide service throughout the city, including in south Tel Aviv and Jaffa, where it is currently impossible to end an e-scooter ride or rent another one. Other rules involve service in industrial and entertainment areas.
The companies will also have to make sure that their e-scooters and bicycles are not left in the middle of the pavement or on a bicycle path, and do not block entrances to buildings or bus stations. They can be left only next to a wall or on the edge of the pavement. Furthermore, there will be restrictions on the number of scooters and bikes that can be left in the same place.
The companies will be authorized to operate in the city in the framework of the regulations. The authorization can be invalidated if companies do not observe the rules or do not provide service to users everywhere in the city.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai recently approved the regulations, which were compiled by the municipality's transportation department. Rented scooters and bicycles are very popular in Tel Aviv as a solution for the "last mile" from a railway station or bus station to a workplace or home. The municipality has received numerous complaints about e-scooters and bikes blocking sidewalks and building entrances, and obstructing pedestrians.
Bird was the first company to enter the market in August 2018. Its rental e-scooters are very popular in Tel Aviv, however, and are believed to number in the thousands there. There are now four e-scooter rental service companies operating in Tel Aviv: Bird, Wind, Lime, and an Israel service named LEO recently also began operating in the city. Mobike, which rents out e-bicycles, is also operating in Tel Aviv. What all of these services have in common is that their scooters and bikes can be rented and taken anywhere. Payment is through an app. The rental prices of all of them are identical.
The Tel Aviv municipality is in an ambiguous position vis-à-vis these companies. On the one hand, it is responsible for supervising regulation in the city, while on the other hand, it subsidizes the older Tel-O-Fun service, which competes with the new services.
The Tel Aviv municipality said in response, "The municipality is currently considering regulation of the private transportation offered by the private companies offering rental e-scooters, shared bicycles, and e-bicycles. Regulation will be based on principles of strict maintenance of order in the public space, providing service everywhere in the city, etc. At the end of the process, the municipality will distribute binding rules for private companies in the coming weeks, and will begin strict enforcement of the rules several weeks after that."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 6, 2019
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