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TRANSPORT

Madrid orders removal of electric scooters

Madrid's city hall said Tuesday it had refused to grant a licence to three electric scooter-share companies and gave them 72 hours to remove their scooters from the streets of the Spanish capital.

Madrid orders removal of electric scooters
Photos: AFP

The city justified the move on the grounds that Lime, Wind and VOI were not doing enough to inform people of their usage rules.

Lime, which is partly owned by ride-hailing Uber and Google parent company Alphabet, and the other two firms distributed electric scooters across the capital earlier this year without official authorisation.

Their arrival has forced Madrid and other Spanish cities to regulate the new trend.

In the capital, the scooters are banned on pavements and in pedestrian zones but authorised on all roads where the speed limit is 30 kilometres (19 miles) an hour — a limit implemented recently on 80 percent of the city's streets.

The three companies can “at any moment” submit a new request for a licence, Madrid's city hall said in a statement Tuesday, adding that a total of 18 companies have expressed interest in providing the service.

SEE ALSO: First electric scooter death in Spain puts spotlight on safety

Contacted by AFP, California-based start-up Lime which has distributed the most scooters in Madrid, did not immediately react to the city's decision.

Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city which is overwhelmed by mass tourism, already bans the use of shared electric scooters. Under its rules, anyone paying to use a scooter must be accompanied by a guide.

Similar electric scooter-sharing programmes have been introduced in other European cities including Paris, Vienna and Zurich.

Unlike schemes involving shared bicycles that typically must be left in docking stations, the scooters are dockless, leaving riders responsible for parking them securely.

The next rider can find the nearest scooter with a smartphone app, unlock it and use it for a fee.

TECHNOLOGY

Malaga to trial Spain’s first self-driving bus

Spain’s first self-driving bus will begin to take public passengers from this Saturday, February 20th.

Malaga to trial Spain's first self-driving bus
Image: Largeroliker / WikiCommons

Created as part of the AutoMOST R + D + I project in participation with Avanza bus company and Malaga City Council, the 12-metre electric bus features autonomous driving technology and will be a revolutionary addition to the transport system.

The mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, companied by the president of the Port of Malaga Authority, Carlos Rubio, and the general director of Avanza, Valentin Alonso were the first to ride in this driverless bus.

Mayor de la Torre said “Malaga has been a pioneer in creating ways to improve life in the city”. “We were also the first city to implement contactless cards on buses,” he added.

The self-driving bus is the first of its kind to circulate in real traffic and will be in operation on line 90 from the Maritime Station in the port area to the Paseo del Parque in the front of the City Hall.

Malaga will become the first European city to implement this new autonomous driving technology in a bus, which is also environmentally friendly, run fully on electricity and which produces zero emissions.

The city council said in a statement that this move reinforces Malaga’s commitment to sustainable mobility and the use of new technologies adapted to transport.

In previous projects, self-driving tests have only been carried out using smaller vehicles, not the standard 12-metre buses that are in daily circulation around the city.

12-metre buses are the world standard, so in theory it will be possible to implement this same type of technology in other models of the same size around the world.

In order for the technology to work, Malaga City Council has invested 180,000 euros in smart traffic lights, which communicate with the bus telling it when to go and stop.

Initially the self-driving bus will run for three weeks, but the traffic lights will remain in place, allowing for the implementation of other self-driving systems in the future, such as driverless cars.

For the next three weeks, residents can ride the self-driving bus completely free of charge. It will operate from Saturday February 20th to March 13th, from Tuesdays to Saturdays 9:30am to 2:30pm.

You can book a ticket on the bus in advance by visiting www.emtmalaga.es

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