Aucklander Julia Zhou tries out one of the new Beam e-scooters on the Taupō waterfront. Photo / Dan Hutchinson
A new e-scooter company has come to the rescue in Taupō.
One hundred purple scooters were deposited around the town on Thursday, filling a hole left by glow scooters which wound up local operations last year.
The scooters were available in most parts of town, including the town centre, around the lake to Wharewaka and Four Mile Bay at the southern end of town, Nukuhau to the north and Tauhara to the east.
Beam’s head of sustainability for Australia and New Zealand, Frederick Conquer, said the scooters were carbon-neutral, and affordable, at a cost of $1 to start it and then $0.65 per minute.
He said safety for riders and pedestrians was their biggest priority, and the scooters featured tip-resistant kickstands, a compulsory helmet with every ride, and an in-app Safety Quiz to educate riders on how to ride safely.
Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas said they welcomed the arrival of the new scooters and they would add vibrancy to the lakefront.
“We previously had e-scooters operating in Taupō and they proved popular with both locals and visitors. It’s great to see Beam bringing this service back to our town.”
The Saturn e-scooters featured tip-resistant kickstands, mechanical and electronic brakes, a bluetooth-locked helmet, and swappable batteries.
It is currently advertising job vacancies for a van marshall to redistribute scooters and change batteries and a fleet technician.
People would need to be mindful of scooter etiquette with fines for poorly parked scooters and penalties for various infringements and breaches of rules within the Beam Safe Academy.
There is a “three strikes” policy for breaches of parking and bad riding that results in suspension.
The company said Beam Safety Ambassadors would be patrolling high-traffic areas, promoting safe riding and parking.
Virtual parking docks are visible in the app, with riders directed to those “appropriate” parking spots.
There is a pre-trip safety briefing for every rider, featuring instructions on how to park and ride safely.
There was also something called Beam Booster which was designed to boost local retail. It uses a mix of GPS technology, in-app notifications and partner incentives to help stimulate economic activity in the community. Participation is free for businesses via www.ridebeam.com/anz/booster.
An in-app Beam Safety Quiz was designed to educate riders on the rules, with free credits offered to encourage it.
In a statement, Beam described itself as “Asia Pacific’s largest shared micromobility company”.
“We are on a mission to turn little drives into better rides and make cities flow better for everyone.”
It has operations in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia and would be expanding operations to Turkey, Japan and Indonesia.
Within New Zealand, Beam has operations in Auckland, Wellington, Whangārei, Palmerston North and Taupō.