New way of getting around Here’s how e-scooter rental works in Bonn

BONN · Around 200 electrically-powered rental scooters have been rolling through Bonn’s city centre since Saturday. The e-scooter fleet for Bonn is a collaboration between Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) and the Berlin company TIER Mobility.

Bonn is one of the first German cities in which this new form of mobility can be used. There is a special feature in Bonn: TIER Mobility is working with the SWB and integrating its TIER-scooter directly into the range of local public transport, says SWB spokesperson, Werner Schui.

“We see both NextBikes and the TIER scooters as a means for the last mile. This means passengers can use them for the last section from the stop to their home or destination,” explains Schui. While SWB regular customers can use the rental bikes free of charge for the first half hour, this is not yet possible with the scooters. “We will integrate the E-scooters and rental bikes into the BONNmobil-app as a next step. Customers will then not only be able to use this to pay rental charges but also to see where the next bike or scooter is,” continues Schui.

The fleet of e-scooters will be continually increased in the coming weeks. According to the SWB spokesperson, the number will be determined by use. However, it is assumed the number will be in the upper three digit range. The area of use could also be expanded depending on how the offer is taken up. So far, the new e-scooters can only be used in the green environmental zone – so particularly in Bonn city centre right up to the centre of Beuel and parts of the north of the city.

What happens when someone rides further on the scooter and leaves it outside the usage area? According to Schui, the user cannot stop the rental – it will continue to run. Technically, it is impossible to leave the e-scooters in restricted areas. E-scooters that are part of the rental system incorrectly left in restricted zones will be removed within twelve hours at the latest, explains Jan Halberstadt, the Bonn city manager for TIER Mobility. Anyone leaving their rental bike or e-scooter incorrectly must pay an additional return charge of Euro 20.

The people of Bonn are quick off the mark: the so-called Small Electric Vehicle Regulation first came into force on 15 June and TIER Mobility, the first rental provider for electric scooters, has already established a service. According to its website, the young company already offers vehicles in many European cities in which e-scooters have been allowed for some time, including Basel, Brussels, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Paris, Stockholm and Zurich. It became public several days ago that Munich is also being discussed as a further location.

Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan (CDU) was one of the first to use the e-scooter on Saturday: “I’m delighted with this new building block for our mobility turnaround. Lead City Bonn is well on its way.” Rolf Beu (Greens), chairman of the Bonn Planning and Transport Committee, was particularly pleased that the offer was available in time for the Climate Conference in the WCCB. Many conference participants could be seen there trying out the new e-scooters. Alexander Saier from the UN Climate Change Secretariat was delighted: “I’m sure the first government representatives will return to their hotels in the evening on the e-scooters.”

The scooter is rented via the app using a QR code

The rental works in a similar way to Nextbike’s bike rental under a so-called free-floating principle: those who need a scooter call up the provider’s app on their Smartphone, which shows where the next scooter is located. The app virtually guides the user to the location.

The scooter is rented via the app using a QR code and then returned after the journey. The scooters can be left anywhere within a defined inner city business area. The scooters will be collected in the evenings and prepared for the next day at a central location. With a battery life of 30 to 40 kilometres, depending on the provider, one battery charge generally lasts for a day.

Billing is done via the app. With TIER Mobility, the release of a scooter always costs Euro 1. In addition they charge 15 cents per minute of use. “From experience we can say that the average price of a ride is two to three Euros,” explains Bodo von Braunmühl, spokesperson for TIER Mobility. The scooters can be ridden on bike paths and on the roads at a maximum speed of 20 km/h. The scooters are not allowed on footpaths. In general, a minimum age of 14 years applies for use in road traffic. However, TIER Mobility reserves the right to only give scooters to adult customers.

(Original text: Sonja Koller, Dylan Cem Akalin, Philipp Königs. Translation: kc)

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