Faro has become the first town in the Algarve to have an electric scooter-sharing system, and Portimão is soon to follow.
Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular around the world as an alternative form of transportation in towns and cities. But thus far, only Lisbon had a network of shared scooters in Portugal.
The idea has now been implemented in the Algarve capital where the first system, operated by VOI, was inaugurated on February 11, just a few days before Flash launched its own network. Together they boast a ‘fleet’ of around 200 electric scooters which can be used by anyone to get around the town.
They work very similarly. A smartphone is needed to access the networks’ apps, where people can pay €1 to use a scooter. An extra 15 cents is charged for every minute that the scooter is used.
The scooters are located at strategic areas known as ‘hotspots’, such as the town’s bus station and the two university campuses at Penha and Gambelas.
Special lanes for the scooters and for bicycles are due to be built throughout the year as part of a plan to create a “more sustainable future” for Faro.
Rui Carvalho from Flash Portugal says that many municipalities are starting to become attracted by the idea of scooter-sharing, which he says is “a path towards a greener city”, with the main goal being to reduce the number of cars circulating in urban centres.
Speaking to Barlavento newspaper, he described the emergence of these systems as a “positive revolution” which provide an alternative form of transportation for both residents and tourists alike.
The scooters operated by Flash offer users a 50-cent discount if they return the scooters to one of the hotspots. This is a way to avoid scooters being dumped around the town.
Meantime, Portimão council has announced that it will, too, launch its own network of shared electric scooters which will be operated by Voi.
The system will be tested throughout the summer until September, when the council will evaluate whether the network is worth continuing.
More information about the Portimão scooter-sharing system, how much a ride will cost and where the 15 hotspots will be located will be revealed “in due time”.