Lenny Tristia Tambun, Jakarta – The city administration plans a regulation that will ban electric scooter use on the streets, sidewalks, and pedestrian bridges early next year, an official said.
The plan came into existence after reports that scooter users had damaged public facilities and disrupt vehicles and pedestrian traffic. Also, six electric scooter users fell victim to traffic accidents earlier this week that killed two of them.
Syafrin Liputo, the head of the Jakarta transportation department, said the city aimed to prevent scooter's usage that can damage public facilities or jeopardize public safety.
"We will finish [drafting the regulation] by the end of the year. We hope that the governor will sign it soon," Syafrin told BeritaSatu in a recent interview. He said his office expected to have the regulation come into effect early next year.
Today the city administration deployed officers to warn electric scooters users to be careful when on the street, pedestrian bridges, and sidewalks. After the reprimand, all scooter users will not be allowed to pass through these areas, he said. Only the bicycle lanes would be available for the scooters, Syafrin said.
Damages, fatal accident
Electronic scooters have made a few headlines in the past week. Local media reported the wood flooring of iconic pedestrian bridges in Sudirman road – which cost the city Rp 53 billion ($3.7 million) to renovate last year – were heavily scratched after electronic scooter users used to cross the road.
That forced the city government to allocate an additional expense to fix it. "They have already replaced it and it has been repaired now," Syafrin said.
On Sunday, six electric scooter users who hired the vehicles from GrabWheels, Grab's e-scooter service, were hit from behind by a speeding car. The driver was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. The police are now investigating the case.
Not for transportation
The Greater Jakarta Transportation Management Agency (BPTJ) said that scooter rental services like GrabWheels should only be available in a closed area so that users can drive safely.
"The electric scooter must be in a closed area. For example, in the [complex of National Stadium] Gelora Bung Karno, or at the airport. Don't be on the street," Bambang Prihartono, the BPTJ's head, was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.
"This [electric scooter] is not a transportation trend. It is just for fun," Bambang said.
Should the city government go through with its plan to regulate the electronic scooter, BPTJ suggested the vehicles to only operate on the pedestrian walk, and not on the bicycle lane. "There is no safety feature in bicycle lane yet," Bambang said.
T.J. Tham, the chief executive officer of GrabWheels, said the company's initial goal was to offer electric scooter rental services in the capital to help people travel using environmentally friendly transport for short distances.