Municipalities interpret law differently on allowing scooters on buses

Electric scooters. Photo is illustrative.
Electric scooters. Photo is illustrative. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Municipalities in Estonia are basing their actions on the same public transport law on the question of whether it is allowed to carry scooters on to public transport, but there is reportedly a lot of room for interpretation.

In the second city, Tartu, it will be soon permitted to take a scooter on to a bus, whereas it hasn't been until now.

If the scooter is not folded away, it will be mandatory to enter from the center doors only, however, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

In Tallinn, however, boarding a bus with a scooter is not recommended due to safety concerns when a bus stops, whereas in the third city, Pärnu, scooters are allowed on board buses if they are covered.

Head of the Pärnu County Public Transport Center,Andrus Kärpuk said that in his city it is nevertheless not recommended to enter the bus carrying a scooter - but it is not forbidden either.

Less crowded buses should be chosen where possible, the bus should be boarded from the center doors and the electric scooter should be folded, he added. The owner has to ensure the scooter doesn't cause any damage to the bus, for instance by bringing dirt in clinging to its wheels, and doesn't interfere with passengers.

Part of the reason for the ambivalence is the fact that baggage is permitted on buses, and scooters can be included in that category under the law.

"These are our recommendations for those people who are entering the bus with a scooter, but we are not forbidding it. We couldn't do so, because it constitutes luggage," Kärpuk said.

Tallinn's Deputy Mayor, Andrei Novikov (Center), confirmed that in the capital, it is possible to enter shuttle buses while carrying electric scooters. However, he emphasized that it is most important to ensure the safety of passengers at all times, no small feat where electric scooters are concerned.

Head of the Roads and Railways Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Ain Tatter, stated that electric scooters are no different in the law's eyes from the rest of the luggage categories.

"The law does not list the nature of the luggage [allowed on board]. It simply says that if baggage is of a reasonable size and quantity, it can be taken. When an electric scooter is the same size as an ordinary, non-electric scooter, there is no reason to draw a distinction," Tatter said.

Head of Tallinn City Transport Dennis Boroditš says that even if the regulator were to forbid entry to public transport with a scooter, bus drivers simply do not have time to check these things.

"It's a question of supervision. If no one allows it in a theoretical way, how will it work? The driver needs to focus on driving. The driver is not going to hinder that. As we have access to public transport via all doors [on the bus], we do not have a technical control mechanism to prevent access," he said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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