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Rome cuts number of rental e-scooters as new rules kick in

Rome rental e-scooters operated by Bird, Dott and Lime.

The number of electric rental scooters on the streets of Rome will drop from 14,500 to 9,000 on Friday 1 September as part of a major overhaul of the sector in the Italian capital.

Under the new rules the number of scooter rental companies active in Rome has been cut from nine to three - Bird, Dott and Lime - which won the public tender last year.

The three companies can operate 3,000 vehicles each, meaning there will be around 5,000 fewer e-scooters whizzing around Rome, with a much reduced number in the city centre.

Under the three-year concession, each rental scooter must have a registration plate and a QR code for electronic identification, with all users required to register using an identity card.

The top speed limit is reduced to 20 km/h (down from 25 km/h), and just six km per hour in pedestrian areas, and the scooters can only be rented by users aged 18 or over.

Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri on Friday said the new regulations will make the electric micro-mobility service "significantly better, safer and better distributed".

The city says it will also clamp down on the "wild parking" of scooters can now only be parked at official stalls, located near public transport hubs.

In addition there will be a reduced fare for holders of Metrebus seasonal tickets for Rome's public transport network.

In 2020 cities across Italy welcomed large fleets of app-based electric scooters, with many urban commuters embracing the vehicles to avoid public transport due to covid-19 fears.

Since then the e-scooters have come in for much criticism, particularly in Rome, over users speeding among pedestrians and dumping the vehicles across pavements.

Rome's move to clamp down on electric scooters comes the same day that Paris introduces a complete ban on rental e-scooters after residents voted overwhelmingly to get rid of them.

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