I’m starting this post with a quote from a friend of mine who has just published a chapter in a book:
“A great spatial mixing is under way: the suburbs are urbanising, getting fuller and more varied, adding more opportunities to work and remain there, and, where this is most successful, developing greater local character. Our city centres are humanising – becoming more pleasant, leafier, varied, filling with residents again – as they, too, expand upwards. The separate and monotonous character of each place that developed into an extreme during the last century is being complicated and unwound.
Supporting this, vehicles everywhere are electrifying: bikes, cars, buses, trains, ferries, even airplanes. Everything will automate (ditto – well, except the bikes). Everything will be shared, certainly all those vehicles, but particularly places, and especially the streets. Walking, biking, scootering will boom. The e-bike is the transformational vehicle of the moment.”
“Is this the future for our city streets?” Patrick Reynolds, in The Big Questions – What is New Zealand’s Future? pub: NZ, Penguin Random House, 2018.
And right on queue, as I write this post, I see this happening around us. Just last week I started to notice oNZo bikes in Wellington – just landed the week before I believe, and already they are visible all over central Wellington. Are they in the suburbs yet? Strikingly coloured in black with yellow wheels, they look cool, in a retro Raleigh 20 way, although from the depths of my ancient brain, Raleigh 20s were never cool at the time they were “in” – choppers were cool! And yes, there is a little of the chopper aesthetic in the rental oNZo. I’ve not yet ridden one yet (an oNZo, not a chopper – of course I’ve ridden a chopper – no, it was not mine, I was not that cool).
I’ve got to scan a barcode and download an app or something – because it is all app-based, of course. Isn’t everything, nowadays?
Will the rental bike catch on in Wellington? App-based rental cars have not, as yet, caught on in Wellville, although I know there are a handful of Mevo around.
Will the rental bike scheme catch on and overflow and become a plague, like it has in several cities overseas? Somehow the economics of scale in China have caused great problems in some cities over there, with vast mountains of e-bikes and rental bikes being thrown away, piled up high and crushed.
The market model for these bikes is simple: provide the bikes, but don’t provide any infrastructure. Be a disruptor, don’t spend money on things you don’t have to. So, while the Barclays blue Boris Bikes of London required expensive acquiring of pavement space and bike racks and charging stations all over Westminster and the City, the oNZo scheme is simpler: provide the bikes and bugger the consequences.
People will leave them outside their offices on the footpath, and someone else will grab them and rent them and scoot them away. Will it work? Time will tell.
Speaking of scootering away, last week also saw the introduction of Lime green e-scooters all over the CBD. They were everywhere. On the footpath. Off the footpath. On the Viaduct Basin (not, yet, actually thrown in the Viaduct Basin, as far as I can see, but give it time). Down the wharf and outside Euro, the swanky posh eatery where I was having lunch. Had someone rich scootered to Euro on a Lime e-scooter, and if so, was it a staff member or a diner? A chef or a waiter? A big note capital markets player, or a visitor from Wellington?
Well, it wasn’t me, because I couldn’t find the bloody app at the time. How people were managing to download the app and hire the damn things was beyond me, although I eventually found something for Lime, and I’ve now found something for oNZo too – although I now see it should be spelled OnzO instead. And now that I’m not in the city, I can find the app, but I know longer have access to a Lime green e-scooter: because they’re not available in Wellington. Yet. Just in Auckland and Christchurch.
They’ll come, I’m sure. All good things come to those who wait.
Speaking of waiting – is this going to be the week that LGWM finally drop their decision on us, the people? Do we prepare a ticker tape parade for the long-overdue right decision, or do we need to get out the tar and feathers and ride them out of town?
DomPost’s Dave Armstrong has come out as a strong supporter already:
Not sure that the Lime thing is such a good idea after all:
“They have proved popular so far, but some fear there will soon be a serious accident as the scooters, which have a top speed of nearly 30 kmh, can be ridden on footpaths and roads without a helmet.”
“Although e-scooters do not require helmets, Booth said people should wear helmets when using anything that had wheels.
“Life’s too short,” he added.”
-Theyâ€™ll come, Iâ€™m sure. All good things come to those who wait.
It will be interesting to see if they do come to Wellington
WCC denied NZ Post access to footpaths for their dinky EVs back in ’16- presumably after advice from council officials,
The fact that both AK and CH have allowed scooters, but not wellington makes me think that the council may have said no?
-Andy F, I know you lurk here from time to time… do you know if Lime approached Wellington?
Not sure LGWM is that close…
“The plan, which aims to ease congestion between Wellington Airport and the Ngauranga Gorge, will need to be signed off by Cabinet before being released publicly later this year.”
Greenwelly – I do hope that you are wrong about the timing for LGWM – I’m so fed up with the waiting and interminable delays from those guys – honestly, they must be the most useless bunch of pathetic shit-headed, cloth-eared, lazy-arsed bureaucrats the world has ever seen. And those are the nicest possible words I can think of to describe them.
Oi !! LGWM !!! Pull finger and get moving !
Re oNZo in the ‘burbs.
I’m sure I read on the twits that one had made it’s way out to Wainuiomata? ^_^
I heard on the internets, that a Boris Bike went on the EuroStar across to Paris, lapped around the Arc d’ Triomphe, and got back again within the time limit. I believe that the person then got given the bike permanently as a reward (for effort? for gallantry ? for idiocy?) by Boris himself.
Odds on it not coming back from Wainui…?
Meanwhile in Auckers: a Lime supporter writes: “Don’t panic they’re only scooters”
@Levi, Can’t really think how taking a Boris Bike to Paris and back within 24 hours would really be that hard….
its about 3 hours each way on the train, – catch the first train out 6am, means you are in Paris by 10 ( local time) … the last Eurostar from Paris to London is around 9pm, so they would have almost 12 hours in Paris…..
Hayden Donnell (and Talk Wellington) have some fun posts about Onzos and lime e-scooters. Much sarcasm and use of pictures (, in Donnell’s case, a truly awful but funny “venn diagram” https://thespinoff.co.nz/auckland/30-10-2018/if-you-think-lime-scooters-are-a-safety-menace-wait-till-you-hear-about-cars/and on Talk Wellington, a great “streets how they feel” image https://talkwellington.org.nz/2018/e-scooters-dockless-bikes-safety-under-siege/). Pointing out the big picture and calling bullshit on the pearl-clutching about these when cars are the big issue.
In other news though, LGWM is due out November apparently. The big question: whether there’ll be car-only infrastructure in there to appeal Justin Lester’s suburban constituencies who (we believe he believes) will throw their toys without someting that smells like “four lanes to the planes”. Because goodness knows, we must do something for “the motorists” (who do not exist without their cars, nor can ever travel any other way, and who must be feeling so neglected these days).