Rome launches 1,000 Helbiz electric scooters

1,000 Helbiz electric scooters hit the streets of Rome.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi has announced the arrival of a fleet of 1,000 electric scooters, operated by American company Helbiz, and available on the streets of the capital from 28 May.

The mayor, speaking during a presentation at the Trevi Fountain, hailed the scooter service as "helping Rome to start again in an environmentally sustainable way."

Raggi also said the scooters were a way of "helping tourists to return" to Rome, adding that the covid-19 pandemic has "forced us to rethink our lifestyles."

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The mayor recently called for Roman commuters to swap their cars for bicycles and electric scooters following the coronavirus lockdown when the capital's streets were practically deserted of traffic.

How does Helbiz scooter sharing work?

The rental is based on a free mobile app that provides the geolocation of the scooters and subsequent unlocking by scanning the QR code on the scooters' handlebars. Once finished, users can park the scooter on the spot, in "free floating" mode, without having to return it to a collection point.

The fare, which is the same throughout Italy, is €1 for the initial release plus 15 cent per minute for the ride. There is also the "Helbiz Unlimited" flat rate of €29.99 per month which allows users to make an unlimited number of daily trips lasting 30 minutes (with at least 20 minutes between each ride). For full details see Helbiz website.

In addition to Helbiz there are already two other electric scooter companies operating in Rome, both American: Lime and Bird.