Barcelona City Hall is banning Segways and bicycle taxis, along with electrically powered scooters and skateboards – modes of transport mainly used by tourists – from the city’s Ciutat Vella historic quarter. The move has been prompted, according to councilor Gala Pin, “by the misuse of these personal vehicles, which residents continually complain about.”
Responding to the announcement, Roberto Pertínez, with the city’s association of companies providing sustainable mobility, which includes bicycle taxis, said: “We earn a living through physical activity and try to work where there are customers, whether they are tourists or not.”
He accused City Hall of not warning the association’s members of its decision, despite them having held several meetings with officials. “They are putting us in the same category as other, very different businesses, such as those who hire out electric scooters and skateboards. A decree of this nature could put some firms out of business and a lot of people won’t be able to earn a living,” he said.
Pertínez said there are around 150 bicycle taxis in Barcelona: “Before July, only 50 were authorized. I don’t understand why City Hall doesn’t make an effort to impose some order rather than simply banning them.”
The ban will not apply to residents of Barcelona who own electrically powered scooters and Segways
The decree will come into effect toward the end of August and will apply for six months to begin with. Segways and other electric two-wheeled vehicles will be allowed along a small route in the center of the Catalan capital.
No restrictions are to be imposed on cyclists, nor will the ban apply to residents of Barcelona who own electrically powered scooters and Segways, and “who use them to go to work or take children to school.”
Barcelona City Hall is aiming to create a registry of rented two-wheeled vehicles and bicycle taxis.
Local police are to be tasked with monitoring compliance of the ban; anybody found in breach of the new rules faces a fine of between €100 and €500.
The move comes at a time when Barcelona City Hall is under pressure from growing numbers of locals who are unhappy at soaring visitor numbers, as well as from local businesses dependent on the tourist sector.
“This pioneering rule aims to solve the problems of co-existence in public areas and to encourage sustainable and safe mobility,” said Pin.
English version by Nick Lyne.