CityBee starts offering car rental service in Tallinn

Citybee cars are not available for hire in Tallinn yet, due to ongoing issues with the city government.
Citybee cars are not available for hire in Tallinn yet, due to ongoing issues with the city government. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Lithuania's CityBee started on Friday offering a mobile application based car rental service in Tallinn with a fleet of new Fiat 500 passenger cars across the city despite criticism from the city authorities.

Manager of CityBee Estonia Heigo Protten said the target group of the service are people who have a driver's license but do not own a car.

The rental price will be determined on the basis of the time of use of the vehicle as well as a the distance it is used for. The service differentiates between a price per minute, price per hour, price per day and price per week. The price per kilometer is 17 cents.

In Estonia, the service will initially be offered only in Tallinn. The cars can also be used for trips outside the capital, but the cars must be returned to Tallinn and left in an area visible on the map in the mobile app.

In an interview on the morning program of the Vikerraadio radio channel on Friday, deputy head of the traffic organization department at the Tallinn Transport Board Talvo Ruutelmaa said that the city has not assigned CityBee any concessions in paid parking areas. Naming the reasons for it, Ruutelmaa highlighted increasing traffic on the roads, taking up free parking spaces and environmental pollution. "Short drives with a cold engine result in great environmental pollution," he said.

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf said that, from the perspective of the city government, the customer base for cheap car rentals is current public transport users. "The idea of directing people away from public transport and into cars does in no way represent an environmentally friendly or forward-looking mindset," Klandorf said on Wednesday.

Negotiations with the city government are continuing.

Protten also commented on the company's experience with the scotter rental service. "It went better than expected in Tallinn. After all, we started with 100 scooters and had to quickly bring in more scooters as the interest of the Estonian people was that high," he added.

The company is initially not planning to increase its fleet of scooters. "My own vision is that we must not overcrowd the city with scooters but must maintain some kind of a reasonable level," Protten said. Also taking into consideration the fleet of scooters of CityBee's market competitor, Bolt, Protten said that there was a reasonable total number of scooters in the city this year.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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