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Free test drives starting April 1: Bonn utilities company starts pilot project with e-scooters

Free test drives starting April 1 : Bonn utilities company starts pilot project with e-scooters

Starting this Monday, the public utilities company Stadtwerke Bonn will offer free test drives on e-scooters to its customers. If the pilot project yields positive results, SWB intends to expand its offerings next year.

Adding to the already operational bike rental system, the public utilities company Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) plans to set up a rental system for electric scooters in the near future. The scooters come from the Remagen-based company Kumpan and can accommodate one passenger along with the driver. SWB has initially purchased five e-scooters for the pilot project. Starting this Monday, electricity and gas customers of SWB can test them free of charge for up to three days during the week or from Friday to Monday.

Customers of legal age who have a driving license of class A, A1, A2, AM or B (car driving license) can register for the rental service now by contacting the service center on Welschnonnenstrasse, where the scooters are also located. Driving license and identity card are required for borrowing. The service center can be reached at 0228/7 11 25 25. The scooters are powered by three batteries and have a range of around 180 kilometers. A battery charger comes along with the e-scooter. Batteries can be recharged on the user’s home power supply or at one of the 29 charging stations in the city. The SWB also provides a helmet.

Findings from the test phase and customer suggestions will be evaluated in autumn. SWB Managing Director Peter Weckenbrock said at the presentation that they would determine how many scooters would be purchased based on those findings. In principle, the offer would function similarly to the bicycle rental system. There, SWB customers pay nothing for the first half hour. Those who are not customers of SWB pay a rate based on the length of the rental.

SWB expects a positive response

Mayor Ashok Sridharan sees the investment as a further step towards becoming "smartest city in North Rhine-Westphalia by 2025". As part of this digitization project, which the city is carrying out together with SWB, Bonnorange and Deutsche Telekom, the partners hope to be able to better control traffic and automatically report full garbage bins. Ultimately, it's all about efficiency. Stadtwerke and Telekom are currently trying out a digital system mounted on a streetlight on Theaterstrasse that indicates the number of free parking spaces.

Anja Wenmakers, Managing Director of SWB Bus und Rail, is convinced that the e-scooters will be well received by the public. "Customers have already shown that they are open to new offers with the bicycle rental system," said Wenmakers. Since its introduction in October, there have been 160,000 rentals and 16,000 customers have registered. Bert Moll, the CDU's spokesman on planning policy, said he wanted to suggest at the next joint committee meeting with the Transport Committee of the Rhein-Sieg district what possibilities there might be for extending the bicycle rental system to that district.

Orig. text: Philipp Königs, Translation: ck