Ipswich City Council renewed its six-month e-scooter trial in Springfield Central last week – allowing residents continued access to convenient personal transportation.
Partnering with e-scooter hire company Beam Mobility, the six-month extended trial will continue to survey the benefits of shared electric micromobility vehicles.
Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Teresa Harding said e-scooters had been “enthusiastically adopted” by residents during the initial six-month trial period beginning July last year.
“More than 3,000 users have scooted across the trial to date, demonstrating how quickly e-scooters have been adopted by Springfield Central residents,” Mayor Harding said.
Residents spent 3,000 hours travelling 30,000 kilometres in total during the first six months of the trial.
“These data points alone demonstrate the impact ‘micromobility’ can have on how we get around our suburbs, completing the ‘last mile’ to and from public transport hubs, work and study.
“Council has decided to extend the trial to July 1, 2024, to collect additional data that will help us evaluate the long-term viability of e-scooters in Ipswich.”
The distinctive purple e-scooters require a smartphone. They are found at designated parking hubs and along footpaths in Springfield Central, Springfield Lakes, and Spring Mountain during the trial.
The main goal is to solve the so-called “last mile” problem – inconvenient transportation gaps that public transport commuters frequently encounter en route to their final destinations.
Council’s ‘iGO Intelligent Transport Systems Strategy’, adopted in 2019, sets out a roadmap for implementing new technology like e-scooters into Ipswich’s transport networks, Mrs Harding explained.
Beam’s Regional Operations Manager Andrew Dodd said the Ipswich trial was progressing well.
“The data to date shows huge potential for shared micromobility to provide transport connections to residents and visitors in Ipswich, and replace trips that would otherwise be taken in a car,” Mr Dodd said.
“We have seen shared micromobility take off in other Queensland cities and towns, with the data from our other operations [including Brisbane] showing a shift from cars to e-scooters – particularly for shorter trips under 5km.
“We’re delighted the trial has been extended for another six months and look forward to continuing our partnership with Ipswich City Council and the Springfield Central community in micromobility.”
Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Deputy Chair Paul Tully said the Council and Beam Mobility have been monitoring the trial for safety and potential improvements.
“Additional slow zones have been implemented as a result of this feedback in some areas, including around the university, where e-scooters are restricted to a maximum of 12km/h,” Cr Tully said.
“No-parking zones have also been implemented [to] prevent parking near key locations.
“Beam has also introduced targeted educational campaigns within the Beam App to encourage better parking behaviour.”
The app-based service includes virtual safety lessons, directions to designated parking, and pay-as-you-go rates.
“E-scooters are popular, affordable and efficient transport for many in cities across Australia. This trial will allow residents to try out shared e-scooters and provide their thoughts and input on how Council might integrate e-scooters into the city’s transport network for the long term,” Cr Tully said.
E-scooter riders must obey most general road rules and speed limits – and must always wear a helmet.
Where there are no indicated speed limits, the default limits are 12km/h on footpaths, shared paths, and crossings, and 25km/h on bike paths, bike lanes, and local roads (that is, roads with no dividing line and limited to 50km/h).
Cr Tully said managing the trial in a controlled and safe environment was vital, and Beam had been chosen for their strong safety record.
“Beam has a strong track record of operating in Queensland cities,” Cr Tully said.
“Their e-scooters include safety features such as tip-resistant dual kickstands, front suspension, triple brakes, a bluetooth-locked helmet, and swappable batteries.”
Other features include ‘geo-locking’ technology, which limits unsafe use in high pedestrian zones.
Share your experiences
Division 2 Councillor Nicole Jonic encouraged residents to participate and have their say.
“Getting to and from public transport can be a barrier for people,” Cr Jonic noted.
“Having the electric assistance means you don’t have to have a change of clothes – as e-scooters are great for tackling hills and heat.”
E-scooters also free up parking spaces, reduce congestion, and are healthy and good for the environment, Cr Jonic added.
“Council’s Shape Your Ipswich page remains open for residents to provide feedback on the e-scooter trial. Beam Mobility can also be contacted directly via their website to provide feedback or ask for immediate support on e-scooters.”
To have your say, visit shapeyouripswich.com.au/e-scooters-ipswich.
For more information about Beam Mobility, visit ridebeam.com/au.
See also: Ipswich’s 2032 roadmap released