Technological advances allowed the development of new modes of transport as an alternative to the use of automobiles. E-scooters are the most popular personal mobility devices in the main cities of the world.
In this context, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires (“GCABA”) (i) regulated the use of personal mobility devices, establishing the conditions for their circulation in the public space and speed limit, among other matters; and (ii) implemented a sandbox (prueba piloto) to render e-scooter sharing services.
Use of personal mobility devices in the public space
In May 2019, the legislative power of the City of Buenos Aires, approved a reform to the Transit and Transport Code, by means of Law No. 6,164, regulating the use of “personal mobility devices”, defined as vehicles of one or more wheels, one seat and exclusively propelled by electric engines (the “Scooters”).
Among other matters, the new regulation established:
- The Scooters’ safety requirements to circulate in the public space;
- That combustion engines Scooters are not allowed to circulate;
- A maximum speed limit in 25 km per hour;
- A minimum driving age in 16 years;
- The circulation ways and prohibition to circulate on the sidewalks;
- The mandatory use of a protective helmet; and
- The sanctions if the driver circulates holding onto another vehicle, does not use protective helmet, the device is not provided with lights, the driver transports other persons (when the design is not suitable for this), does not respect road signs, or circulates in unauthorized places.
In order to regulate e-scooter sharing systems, in July 2019, the Secretariat of Transport enacted Regulation No. 310/2019, creating the Sandbox for E-Scooter Sharing Services within the jurisdiction of the City of Buenos Aires, for a one-year term (the “Sandbox”), and establishing the terms and conditions of the same.
In October 2019, Resolution No. 500/2019 of the Secretariat of Transport approved the proposals that were submitted by the companies that applied to render the e-scooter sharing services within the Sandbox framework, establishing the authorized areas for circulation, the location of virtual stations, and the amount of authorized e-scooters per applicant.
- In general terms, the regulation requires that the authorized operators: (i) grant a performance bond (ARS1,500,000 (i.e., approximately USD 23,810) in the form of a surety bond (seguro de caución)); (ii) mandatory hire insurance; and (iii) obtain a permit to render the service.
- The term of the Sandbox must be of one year. The GCABA may modify or reduce this term, according to assessments made or extend the term for an additional year.
- The GCABA may carry out additional calls for companies to file applications within the term of the Sandbox program. Interested parties in participating in the Sandbox (and that have not filed a proposal before the opening of the tenders) may do so if this new call is made. Should they be awarded, they must render the service until the expiration of the term of the Sandbox, notwithstanding that they may have started to operate after the Sandbox has begun.
- The Sandbox fixes at 4,000 the maximum amount of e-scooters that may be used to render the services, notwithstanding the amount of offers received. This maximum amount may be extended o reduced by the GCABA pursuant to the analysis of the data obtained after an initial 3-month term.
- Each authorized operator must pay a monthly fee to the GCABA regarding the rendering of the services; considering as a calculation base the amount of e-scooters authorized to operate.
- Pursuant to the Sandbox terms and conditions, the speed limit for this service is 20 km per hour.
- The devices must be identified by means of the authorized operator’s logo.
- The authorized operators are only authorized to place their own advertising on the devices. They may not place any type of advertising in the virtual stations.
- The terms and conditions for the Sandbox establish, among other matters, regulations on the areas available to render the service and parking; restricted areas; e-scooter maintenance; information duties; and sanctions.
Recently, the GCABA published in its website channels to report the unauthorized parking of shared services e-scooters: https://www.buenosaires.gob.ar/movilidad/noticias/estacionamiento-indebido-de-monopatines-canales-de-reclamos.