The rental companies can be eaten with only a few hundred electric scooters each in the capital. – It becomes unprofitable and gives a bad offer, says expert.
For climate reasons, Lan Marie Berg and MDG will have a VAT exemption for electric bicycles and use 1 billion on a cash benefit scheme for private purchase of electric bicycle.
But renting electric bikes and electric scooters can be more troublesome from August, one should believe the country’s foremost expert on the subject.
According to the Urban Environment Agency, the 8000 units will be distributed equally between all actors who receive permission from the municipality.
Since the requirements for obtaining a permit are not very strict, many applicants may mean that each player is only allowed to operate so few vehicles that it will not be profitable to rent them out.
– Right now we have chosen to put the consideration for the citizens who are affected by the chaos before the consideration for the companies, the Labor Party answers further down in the case.
Today, there are eight companies that rent out electric scooters and / or electric bicycles, according to Oslo council.
– Can hardly be made worse
On Monday, the urban environment agency held a closed consultation meeting with the companies that rent out electric scooters.
The online newspaper has gained access to an audio recording of the meeting.
At least 10 rental companies participated, including some that are not yet established in Oslo. If all of these apply for, and receive permission to, operate in Oslo, each company will receive a maximum of 800 units for rent.
To Nettavisen, research leader Nils Fearnley from the Department of Transport Economics (TØI) reacts critically to the new rules.
– You can hardly do worse than dividing the number of bikes by a large number.
– Let’s say that 10 players get 800 electric scooters each. Even if you have four apps, more than half of the bikes you stumble upon will be irrelevant, he says.
This will be unprofitable for the players and provide a poor offer to users, explains Fearnley, who is considered Norway’s foremost expert on so-called “micro-mobility”.
He is currently leading a research project for the urban environment agency under the auspices of TØI, funded by the Research Council, on micro-mobility.
– I thought it was a typo
Fearnley also responds to Oslo’s demand that players must distribute electric scooters in different parts of the city.
This is how the City Council proposes that the electric scooter bikes be distributed across the streets of Oslo:
Fearnley does not think this will work well for either the rental companies or the users.
– If they are to have 360 of 800 bicycles outside ring 2, then I think it is so unprofitable that many companies would rather try everywhere than Oslo, he says.
– The number limit outside the city center could also be removed, he adds.
– They have said that the problem is in the center, but then they have limited the number of bicycles in the outer zones. At first I thought it was a typo.
Fearnley explains to Nettavisen that a tender system where fewer players enter the market would be better than what the city council is now proposing.
– It would be better to limit market access and let each of them have slightly larger fleets. Then it will be more profitable for the players and a better offer for the customers.
Not based on any analysis
During the closed meeting with the urban environment agency and the landlords, it was revealed that the ceiling of 8000 is a political decision from the city council, and not based on any report or analysis.
– The number of 8000 is a guide that we have received, and not a number we have calculated in any way, said department director Heidi Tomten during the meeting.
– Can you give a somewhat more comprehensive answer to this with 8000, beyond saying that it is a political decision? asked a representative from one of the rental companies.
– We have not made any investigation, if that is what you think. We have also not had time to make any investigation within the short period of time where we have worked with it, Tomten replied.
The goal is for the new rules to enter into force in August, according to City Councilor Lan Marie Berg (MDG).
– Takes into account those affected
According to Berg’s advisers, the city council does not have the opportunity to comment on city council cases in the media below the political crisis in the capital.
Andreas Halse, city council representative for the Oslo Labor Party, therefore answers on behalf of the position in Oslo.
– Electric scooters are ingenious for many, but it gives some groups, such as the visually impaired and wheelchair users, major problems.
– Right now we have chosen to put the consideration for the inhabitants who are affected by the chaos before the consideration for the companies, he says.
Halse explains that the new scheme is temporary, and the best was achieved at short notice after the Storting this week adopted a law that gives the municipalities legal authority to regulate the rental of electric scooters.
– This has been a matter of urgency from the government, so we must be very quick if we are to have a regulation in place that will take effect this season.
– Thus, can a tender process be put in place next year?
– The Oslo Labor Party wants that, but the law does not provide the opportunity for a regular tender. One can distinguish between the companies, but not with price as a criterion.
– We must ensure that the criteria we actually use are so legally watertight that they stand up, because these companies have shown before that they are more than willing to take this to court. You must have a factual justification for why, for example, three companies should be allowed to rent and five are not allowed to do so.
This will take more time to get in place than the municipality had available this summer, he explains.
Such a tender process is exactly what Fearnley in TØI is calling for.
Then the municipality could set several requirements, and manage the permits according to who meets these. He mentions solutions for safety in traffic, the number of complaints against the players or frequent use as potential factors in a tender.
Can cheat on several bikes
With the scheme that Oslo is now proposing, a rental company can in theory set up a new company under a different name with which they apply for permission to rent electric scooters.
In order to obtain permission to rent out more bicycles.
During the closed meeting, the Urban Environment Agency answered questions about this issue.
– We are aware that, in the long run, it can be a challenge, said Tomten.
She believes it will not be possible to establish a company and apply for a permit within the application deadline.
– We have been thinking about it and it will not be possible to reach it within the application deadline which is in August, so therefore we do not see it as a danger now. But it is something we are thinking about, and which we can possibly come back to, she stated.
But the application deadline has not been set.
«The application deadline has not been set yet. First, a local regulation must be adopted. It’s on hearing now. The City Council aims to enter into agreements with the players so that they enter into force at the end of August “Nettavisen is informed in an e-mail from the City Council.
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