Taxify launches electric scooter hire service in Paris

  • Paris has gained its third electric scooter rental service in the space of a few weeks.
  • The ride hailing company Taxify has added electric scooters as a choice on its app.
  • Electric scooters have gained popularity in some U.S. cities but have also caused problems.
Bolt scooters have been released on to the streets of Paris by the firm, Taxify.
Taxify
Bolt scooters have been released on to the streets of Paris by the firm, Taxify.

The rise of the electric scooter as a method of cross-city travel shows no sign of slowing down as a new rental service launched in Paris on Thursday.

Taxify, the Estonian ride-hailing rival to the likes of Uber and Lyft, is rolling out an electric kick-scooter service in the French capital that is accessible via the firm's mobile app.

Branded "Bolt," Taxify CEO and co-founder Markus Villig said that he expected some of the firm's taxi customers to make the switch to a scooter for certain journeys.

"One in five Taxify rides is less than 3 kilometers (1.86 miles), which is the perfect distance to cover with an electric scooter," he said. "In the future, we expect some of them to opt for scooters for shorter distances, but we're also pretty excited to be attracting a whole new group of customers with different needs."

To use the scooter, Taxify app users in Paris must switch between taxi ride-hailing and scooter rental. Unlocking a scooter requires customers to scan a QR-code. Once done, riders can leave the scooter on the street.

Taxify has promised to collect the scooters every evening for recharging and maintenance. The firm said the cost of a ride will be 15 cents a minute, on top of a one euro charge.

It is the third such service to launch in Paris after rival companies Bird and Lime, who both placed their electric scooters on Parisian streets earlier this year.

Electric scooter sharing has enjoyed fast growth in some cities in the United States, although there have been complaints over dangerous riding, dumping them in inappropriate places and riding illegally on the sidewalk.

The anger led to San Francisco politicians banning the powered scooters, before then issuing a permit to just two companies, Scoot and Skip. Uber and Lyft, who wanted to add scooters to their taxi apps in San Francisco, were both rejected.

London, for now, looks to be holding out against encouraging the new method of urban travel. While battery powered scooters can be spotted on British streets, the U.K. Department for Transport has deemed them illegal on public roads and sidewalks.