In August 2018, dockless electric scooters appeared all over central Stockholm. The scooters belong to VOI, a Swedish company that promotes a sustainable alternative to inner-city travel.
Despite the apparent concern in Stockholm, Daniel Helldén, Minister for Transport in Stockholm, has given the e-scooters his seal of approval.
Helldén has said from the start that he was happy about the concept of rental scooters in the city centre, as “it will make it easier for inhabitants to move around”. However, he did raise some concerns about the issue of dockless, free-floating vehicles.
One such concern was the possibility that the city centre could become overrun by the e-scooters. There is a risk that the scooters could end up littering the city, by not being properly looked after, or by being parked in inappropriate places.
Critical of the risks
Ever since the overnight launch of e-scooters in San Francisco, which brought outrage among residents, some people have been understandably critical of the risks associated with dockless transport in cities.
San Francisco dealt with the issue by banning the dockless vehicles and requiring all companies to apply for a permit. The three companies who started everything off were not successful in their applications.
There are no current laws in Stockholm that would require companies to obtain a permit before placing e-scooters around town. This, paired with the success that companies such as VOI are experiencing, could lead to more companies turning up in Stockholm in an attempt to take some share of the market.
If such an influx were to occur, it could potentially lead to a change in the law. In the case of VOI, this would not necessarily be a bad thing. Since their launch, they have made a concerted effort to promote responsible use of their e-scooters, as well as respect for the city and its residents.
Communication is key
Caroline Hjelm, CMO of VOI Technology, explained the importance of working alongside the City Council, rather than against it.
“We want all cities we work with to have a positive experience from the beginning. We believe that can only be achieved through a close dialogue”, she said.
Helldén also sees the need for communication with the people behind dockless e-scooters. According to Di Digital, he had a recent meeting with VOI Technology, to discuss different ways that VOI can run the business so that everyone can be happy with the dockless e-scooters.
“We should try to integrate this into the city environment as something we can benefit from”, he said.
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