Beam e-scooters to be banished from Adelaide CBD

The purple Beam electric scooters that have become a prominent feature of Adelaide city footpaths since early last year will be removed by the end of the month, InDaily can reveal.

Jan 06, 2020, updated Jan 06, 2020
A Beam e-scooter, left in an underground Grenfell Street car park. The distinctive purple-hued scooters will be removed from city streets by the end of the month after failing to secure a renewed permit. Photo: Bension Siebert / InDaily

A Beam e-scooter, left in an underground Grenfell Street car park. The distinctive purple-hued scooters will be removed from city streets by the end of the month after failing to secure a renewed permit. Photo: Bension Siebert / InDaily

Responding to questions from InDaily this morning, the Adelaide City Council confirmed the Singaporean company has failed to win an extension of its permit to operate in the CBD, meaning the battery-powered scooters will have to be removed from the streets by January 31.

InDaily can reveal that Australian e-scooter company RIDE has been offered a renewed permit to operate, as has another Singaporean company, Neuron, which will begin rolling out its dark orange-hued e-scooters across CBD streets from the beginning of next month.

Garry Herdegen, the council’s acting director of place, told InDaily an expression of interest process had concluded, “with Neuron and Ride being the two successful operators selected to operate in the city from February”.

“The expression of interest process was open to any e-scooter operator, and each operator that submitted was assessed against a number of criteria,” said Herdegen in a statement.

“Beam has not been successful in obtaining a permit through this process.”

In a statement to InDaily today, Beam head of public affairs for Australia and New Zealand Brad Kitschke described the decision as “puzzling”, and vowed to work with other interested councils to remain in South Australia.

“Beam has been the standout provider in Adelaide over the last nine months have provided two-thirds of all trips and consistently met our required quota of deployed e-scooters – the only operator to do so,” said Kitschke.

“It should be a pre-requisite to be considered for a new tender that providers have met all criteria of existing permits.

“For this and a number of reasons the decision is puzzling and we suspect the Council may not have had all the relevant facts when making this decision.”

He described Beam as “the market leaders in e-scooter safety initiatives, accident insurance coverage, sustainability, solar charging and using smart technology to keep the streets clear” and said “we are surprised by this outcome given the exceptional service we have provided to the City of Adelaide”. 

Kitschke said the council was due to provide a feedback session for permit applicants next week.

He said the company would re-apply for a permit in the CBD.

“We look forward to re-applying and to working with other Councils,” he said.

“We won’t be packing up and leaving Adelaide. 

“Over the last nine months, we have created more than 25 jobs and we will be working with our marshals and mechanics over the coming weeks to help them secure work when our contract ends on 31 January.”

He added that it was important to the company that its staff have ongoing jobs.

Beam’s rejection is the second in as many months.

In December, the company lost out to RIDE and Neuron in the tender to provide e-scooters along Adelaide’s coastline, according to a report in The Advertiser.

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A promotional image on the Neuron website, showing the company’s dark orange e-scooters, soon to roll out on Adelaide city streets.

The first SA e-scooter trial occurred during the Adelaide festival season early last year.

The inaugural permit-holder, Lime, with its green, black and white e-scooters, lost its permit to Beam and Ride in March 2019 because, as InDaily revealed at the time, it had failed to enforce council-imposed geographic boundaries for its e-scooters.

It is unclear which criteria RIDE and Neuron bested Beam on in the latest permits round.

RIDE CEO Tom Cooper told InDaily this afternoon he was thrilled by the decision, which will allow RIDE to have 500 e-scooters on city streets over the next two years, to February 2022.

“We’re over the moon and really excited,” he said.

“We’re going to be launching a new app in the coming weeks (and will) update our scooter fleet in the coming weeks.”

Cooper said he was yet to be informed of the reasons RIDE succeeded in its permit application.

He expressed gratitude to the council what he described as its “progressive” approach to city transport.

InDaily sent additional questions to the council.

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