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Rome prepares for electric scooter sharing

American electric scooter sharing company Lime awaits approval to launch in Rome.

A project to introduce electric scooter sharing in Rome has received the approval of the city council but is awaiting the go-ahead from Italy's transport ministry, according to Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The sharing scheme would be operated by American company Lime, present in 100 cities worldwide, and could involve electric scooters on Rome's streets within weeks.

The transport ministry is currently studying the eco-friendly project and, pending approval, will define whether the scooters can circulate on roads, pavements or bike paths.

Lime's general manager in Italy, Marco Pau, told La Repubblica that the Californian-based company would begin with 500 scooters in Rome, increasing the fleet if required. Pau said that last summer Lime launched 400 scooters in Paris - where several eco-sharing mobility groups already exist - and today there are "thousands of green scooters."

Lime's plan in Rome involves "covering those missing miles and allowing commuters to reach metro and stations more easily", according to Pau. He also said the company would encourage the use of helmets, whether or not they are mandatory, underlining that Lime would forbid the use of scooters on roads it considers "dangerous."

The project would see scooters collected after 21.00 each night by Lime operators, to check for damage in addition to recharging the vehicles, which are fitted with a GPS tracking system.

Usage is limited to one person per scooter and users must be aged 18 or over. Rental costs €1 to unlock the scooter followed by a charge of €0.15 per minute, with a maximum speed of around 25km per hour.

If it receives the green light, Lime will attempt to succeed in a city where bike-sharing companies have failed in recent years.

Photo REUTERS/Paul Hanna

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