The scooters can be rented via a phone app, and currently can be taken from where they are found to virtually any other location in the city. But the creation of new zones will change that, and hopefully solve many of the problems now associated with the scooters.
Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě) is not opposed to the scooters, but wants a framework for their smooth operation. He says there is a need to promote alternatives to car traffic and to develop continuity with public transport so people can easily go from the apartment to the office.
The new rules were negotiated with Lime CEO Toby Sun, who arrived in Prague from San Francisco to deal with the issue. According to the agreement, two types of zones will be created for scooters, and they should be in effect already this summer.
“The first is the red zone, where the scooter turns off if the driver enters it. We count on an extensive red zone in the pedestrian zones in Prague 1, on the Royal Route and in part of Prague 2. At the same time, Lime representatives must also contact other districts outside the center to define [more] red zones,” Scheinherr said. The app relies on GPS to monitor the scooters’ location.
“The second zones — green — will be defined for scooter parking. Lime on its own will find areas with sufficient space, but it will then have to consult with the appropriate city district before entering them in the application,” Scheinherr added.
Scheinherr and Prague 1 representatives have been negotiating with Lime since the end of last year. Both the scooters scattered on sidewalks and driving that endangers pedestrians, especially in the narrow streets and other areas where scooters intertwine with pedestrians, are considered the main problem in Prague.
“We want Prague residents to use scooters comfortably, and are looking for ways to adjust the rules of use so that pedestrians don’t have to jump out from in front of them or trip over them on the sidewalks. The first change is that, since last week, customers have to click in the application that they agree not drive on sidewalks, park in non-reserved locations, and not block trams and buses with reckless driving,” Scheinherr added.
Other measures include the introduction of a maximum number of scooters in the city. Lime also plans to spread scooters to areas outside the center, where Prague residents can use them to drive from home to the metro.
The city also sees a problem in users’ low level of awareness of scooter rules. Based on this, an information marketing campaign will also be created, which will show Czech and foreign riders proper scooter etiquette.
Lime scooters arrived in Prague in September 2018, and quickly became controversial as many users rode them on sidewalks and left them parked haphazardly.
To use a Lime scooter, people unlock them with a phone app and pay Kč 25 as an initial fee and then Kč 2 for every minute. The scooters should go a maximum of 25 kph, and the Lime company recharges them when the battery runs low. Riders are also supposed to wear helmets, but these are not provided with the scooters.
Lime was established in the US state of California in January 2017. It is mainly active in the US but has been expanding to Europe and Australia. Its founders say they want to reduce people’s dependence on passenger cars for short-distance transport.
By working with the city, Lime is hoping to avoid the fate of Segways, which were banned from large areas of Prague at the end of 2016.