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The municipality of Uccle takes a radical decision concerning the parking of electric scooters

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Uccle engages the overdrive against scooters: the municipality in the south of Brussels has warned the operators present in the capital that their machines could no longer be parked on its territory until further notice. A letter to this effect has been sent to micromobility players. A meeting with them is scheduled next Wednesday in Uccle.

Concretely, this does not mean that you can no longer travel in Uccle on these electric vehicles, but that you can no longer park them. Riding them therefore becomes somewhat useless in the Commune. “It’s really the jungle. The elderly are forced to slalom on the sidewalks. The users are uncivil and the operators don’t care at all”, thunders the mayor of Uccle Boris Dilliès (MR) in Le Soir.

“Lost Users”

The radical Uccle decision comes as an ordinance legislating the use of scooters was adopted in March 2022 in the Brussels Parliament. This provides in particular for “drop zones” where users will be forced to park their vehicles, otherwise their rental cannot end. Ambition: “clean” the sidewalks and squares, where self-service bicycles and scooters go so far as to pile up, to the detriment of pedestrians, strollers and PRMs. Problem: the Government has not yet translated the text into implementing decrees. A first reading must take place in September, confirms the office of the Brussels Minister for Mobility Elke Van den Brandt (Groen). It will then be up to the municipalities or Brussels Mobility to delimit these zones, according to the roads concerned. Their other options: status quo or ban.

The problem is well known to the operators themselves. A large part of their business already consists of straightening overturned scooters or extricating them from congested passages. “The parking rules are much more restrictive in France”, confirms François-Xavier Giraud, city manager of the Tier operator in Brussels, Liège and Roubaix. “In Brussels, the initial error was undoubtedly to launch free-floating offers. Today, users are lost. Some municipalities have already introduced restrictions, others have not. Users park indiscriminately on municipal or regional roads. The vagueness persists and it requires a lot of work from us. Which sometimes does not follow”. And the boss of the German box to confirm that “all operators suffer a lot of impoundments”. This inevitably costs time and money.

©Julien Rensonnet

Tier, like its competitor Dott, has already introduced parking restrictions to its users. These cover certain areas of the two Woluwe, Koekelberg, Berchem, Evere and, already, Uccle. “For example, some demand that we no longer allow parking on sidewalks less than 1.20m,” zooms the manager. “Others already impose painted areas on the ground”. The recalcitrant customer risks seeing his bill increased if he does not respect these injunctions.

Therefore, operators are in favor of clearer rules. “We all want a standardized procedure”, opines François-Xavier Giraud. “When a scooter is badly parked, we need photos that prove the violation”. Above all, Tier is waiting for the famous drop zones to be put in place. “Drop zones are the solution. The ordinance is there. Its translation into Government decrees is still missing. Brussels Mobility and municipalities will then implement it according to their territories. We understand that the latter do not start right away. following in the infrastructure or painting work: they may have to start all over again”.

“We are mapping the city”

In the meantime, operators know the neighborhoods where these drop zones should, in their eyes, be located. And the lobbying is on. “We map the city, we transmit this data to Brussels Mobility. And try to influence them in the location of the drop zones”, assures the boss of Tier in Brussels. “The municipalities are open to our suggestions”.

Several logics underlie these requests. “First, we know that we complete the public transport offer. We are a link in intermodality. We take our train, our metro, and we finish the trip on a scooter”, deciphers François-Xavier Giraud. “The areas that concentrate large gatherings of scooters and shared bikes are therefore unsurprisingly STIB stations and SNCB stations, but also campuses, neighborhoods rich in catering, museums and cultural places, administrative centers or parks”. Second logic at work: “Density. In an ideal city, you should never have to walk more than 200 or 300m to find a scooter. Otherwise you might as well walk the whole way”.

The municipality of Uccle takes a radical decision concerning the parking of electric scooters
©Julien Rensonnet

The operators will therefore be meeting in Uccle next week. Politically, Boris Dilliès’ decision can obviously be read as a warning shot to the Brussels regional majority. “She procrastinates completely”, he launches to our colleagues in the Evening. On Tier’s side, we want to be a diplomat. “We want drop zones,” repeats the manager of this player present in 250 cities in Europe and the Middle East. “We can set them up in our app quickly and notify customers just as quickly. In less than 24 hours, it’s done”.