Ipswich Council to Test Shared Electric Scooter Program in Springfield Central

Ipswich City Council will test a shared electric scooter program in Springfield next year, following the growing popularity of mobility devices in Brisbane and across Australia.

A report compiled by council officials was presented to the Ipswich Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee, detailing the benefits of electric scooters for reducing traffic congestion, reducing carbon emissions and connecting riders to public transport.

The report says the Ipswich, Springfield and Ripley CBD were all seen as potential pilot sites, but Ripley was left out as the suburb’s infrastructure was still under development.

The CBD was also phased out because its trails and cycle paths required more investment, according to the report.

“After a review of the region’s infrastructure, it is clear that continued investment is needed in the Ipswich CBD for the rehabilitation of trail assets to meet current standards, as well as new paths to connect key destinations throughout the region. “

Springfield Central, 15 kilometers east of Ipswich, has newer infrastructure and would need less investment to support an electric scooter pilot program, the report notes.

The Ipswich CBD was excluded due to the need for better trail infrastructure.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

No fees for advice

Mayor Teresa Harding said there was no cost to the council for the pilot program, but stressed the need to make it work safely.

Electric scooters have been operating in Brisbane since late 2018 and are becoming increasingly popular across Australia as a fast and cheap transport option in cities.

But safety has been a hot topic in Brisbane as e-scooter suppliers introduce more monitoring software and geolocation options, while the use of private electric scooters has exploded.

Division 2 adviser Paul Tully said he would “strongly support” the pilot project to help Ipswich enter the era of new technologies that are benefiting Brisbane and other cities.

“May I say, however, that there are examples in Brisbane where the rules set by Brisbane City Council, and I think the state in insurance and the legal issues involved, are extremely important,” did he declare.

Pilot for 2022

The council said 366 people had responded to a survey to gauge community sentiment on electric scooters in Ipswich.

However, due to difficulties with the survey website, only 6% of the 6,000 people who accessed the site responded to the survey, suggesting that community sentiment may not have been expressed with precision in the results.

Of the 366 people surveyed, 65% indicated their support for e-scooters in Ipswich, but 53% did not believe the walking trails and cycling infrastructure in the CBD would be safe for e-scooters.

The report noted that all government and non-government agencies, except the Queensland Police Department, supported the trial.

The trial is expected to begin at the end of 2022 after additional community consultation and planning.

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