Businesses that repair and sell electric scooters proliferate in Reus

Establishments that sell and repair electric scooters are gaining presence in Reus. The demand has become "so great", in the eyes of the entrepreneurs in the sector, that they have responded to that need "as soon as we could". Before, even, that firm regulations and ordinances were established, which regulated the rights and obligations of users, and also the restrictions and limitations when using personal mobility vehicles (VMP).

It should also be noted that this month's municipal plenary session initially approved the Sustainable Mobility Ordinance, whose regulation includes, among other titles, points referring to the rights, duties and prohibitions of VMP users, as well as circulation protections and priorities . At the same time, the Reus Urban Guard announced, this past October, that it would increase controls on scooter users due to the increase, compared to last year, in the number of traffic accidents involving scooters. The municipal body registered 65 accidents with a scooter involved (5.4 accidents per month) last year; while this year, 62 have been registered up to October (6.2 per month).

The Guàrdia Urbana raised a total of 716 minutes for scooter users last year and this 2022, it has already raised 542 until October. The trend is growing, in line with the increase in accidents, which are 59.2 minutes per month in 2021 and 60.2 minutes per month in 2022. The municipal body has been carrying out its driver education program for years, which expanded with specific courses in institutes to train young people on how to circulate safely with VMP.

A “new and booming” market

From the Teco electric scooter repair shop, they say that fixing a scooter wheel is a "usual and repeated" demand. As there is already a significant number of users in the city, the demand for repairs "has been growing and is being noticed a lot now", since being a request related to "a new and booming market" - that of the sale of electric scooters–, shops are "professionalising in repair".

The electric scooter users who come to the store have a wide age range: "Customers are of different ages, they can come from 14 years old to 50, although the majority are adolescents and young people." Regarding the use of electric scooters, "people have gotten used to seeing other people riding a scooter, they have gradually lost their fear and, hence, this way of getting around has become widespread."

The Teco business has been open since 2020, "just when the Covid appeared." The professionals who are in charge, remember the start-up process as a step "harder than we thought, although in the end, we have been coping with it." Before, they were in another location and moved to the Robuster suburb, where they have been "for about a year now."

What do the users say?

Some VMP users value, on the other hand, that in Reus "there is a lack of space to be able to circulate" and that there are "improvable" safety criteria. The electric scooter user Xavi Jurio says that he bought one “to save time when traveling to work”. «In the city model we have, the electric scooter is highly stigmatized, there are people who use their VMP safely, wear a helmet, drive where they touch and be careful. I prioritize my safety. The complex thing is driving cars, I even consider looking at insurance for myself, as a scooter user, "says Jurio, who also attaches importance to the fact that there are strict regulations for electric scooter users. «Young people are usually the ones who take the least precautions to circulate. There should be a specific patrol that was on top of possible uncivil behaviors, "requests Jurio.

For his part, Alejandro Yeste, also a scooter user, has been betting on this mobility alternative for nearly four years. «At first, I used the electric scooter to go to work. Now, it is part of my routine, I have gone shopping on a scooter », he declares. Yeste acknowledges that it is "useful" for him that there are "shops to change your brake pads or repair your wheels, it pays off, because, in the end, you give the scooter a lot of use." On the coexistence between scooters and cars, Yeste says that in Reus "it is necessary to raise awareness among the public" and says that there are bike lanes that could improve their location.

The bicycle as a priority

The city is advancing, on the other hand, towards the implementation of a shared bicycle system, something that the Councilor for Urbanism, Marina Berasategui, exposed, would even give rise to more sustainable mobility initiatives. In fact, a little over a year ago, the mayor exposed the Daily that "we will not have a public system like the one for the bike, but it is possible that we will end up granting a license to an operator, when we have the Ordenança de Mobilitat approved". Municipal sources recently consulted on the subject, express that "although there have been some contacts", right now, "the priority of the Reus government is the bicycle".

Moving away from personal mobility vehicles and influencing the shared bicycle system, the Bicicamp entity –which promotes the daily and safe use of the bicycle–, finds that the initiative “can be helpful, as long as there is a good infrastructure set up », but calls for an impact on the organization of mobility in general.

"Any project that promotes the use of bicycles and active mobility will always be welcome, but for other forms of mobility to have a place in Reus, cars have to lose space, because there is no more," the Bicicamp president makes clear. , Ester Avila.

The representative of the entity emphasizes that the problem is coexistence with the car. “First, let's organize mobility. Furthermore, the bicycle is a means of transport with which there is active physical activity, it is healthy and we do not depend on external energy, we produce it ourselves”, Àvila describes. Working to incorporate the circulation of the bicycle in the city, continues the president of Bicicamp, "it is not a question of finding a place for it and stuffing it where it fits, but rather it is necessary to rearrange the distribution of the streets and think about them from scratch."

The last batch to implement the public shared bicycle system goes out to public tender

In another order of things, the Reus City Council, through the municipal company Reus Mobilitat i Serveis, has published the tender for the last batch of the contract for the implementation of a public shared bicycle system in the city of Reus. Specifically, the one that refers to civil works for the installation of stations and anchorages (parking bases) for bicycles.

The contract starts with a bidding budget of 737,966.66 euros. The total term for the execution of the works is seven months and is divided into two phases: the first includes the civil works of 14 stations, which will be carried out in four months from the rethinking act; and, in phase two, the civil works of seven stations enters, whose expected period is seven months in total, counting from the reconsideration act.

This lot was put out to public tender in the summer and was left deserted due to the material supply crisis. Now the specification has been redone, although it keeps the characteristics of the project intact and shortens the execution times. This contract is part of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, financed by the European Union-NextGenerationEU.

As a reminder, last week Wolf-Factory Bike SL was awarded, for 160,888.72 euros (excluding VAT), the supply of bicycles for the public shared bicycle system, which includes a first phase with 250 bicycles. The system will start operating in Reus with 250 mechanical bicycles, 1,000 anchoring points and 21 stations.

Users will be able to release the chosen bicycle through an application for mobile devices and return it to any of the service's parking points. The maximum supply period will be ten months and the bicycles will be of the urban type, simple but robust.

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