The electric scooters (“e-scooter”), among other players in the micro-mobility market, remain to be in demand since they attract users for short distance travels and offer an environmentally friendly option open for innovations. However, rapid increase of e-scooters in public spaces is borne multiple legal obstacles including the safety of e-scooter users, pedestrians, and traffic flow. In furtherance, Turkey has recently issued the Regulation on Electric Scooters (“Regulation”), covering multiple areas in relation to the use of e-scooters in public areas such as e-scooter applications, authorization of operators, and major safety rules.
E-scooter Operations and Authorization Processes of Operators
The Regulation stipulates that services using the electronic system that allows users to lease e-scooters for a short-term (“shared e-scooter operations”), are carried out only by individuals or entities who are authorized with shared e-scooter permission or authorization certificate. Further it emphasizes the importance of unfair competition practice in the market and establishes that operators who are granted with authorization certificate in accordance with this Regulation, will ensure the sustainability of services and preclude unfair competition practices. Further explains, authorization certificates and e-scooter permissions to be issued in accordance with this Regulation cannot be subject to sale and transfer.
Further Details on Authorization Certificate
Accordingly, certain conditions must be met before issuance and renewal of authorization certificates. This include requirements regarding the origin and individuals and entities to apply for authorization should be Turkish. Furthermore, both individuals and entities should be large taxpayers, registered with one of the chambers of commerce or/and industry or tradesmen and craftsmen in their central address location and member of electronic notification system.
The Regulation sets forth authorities of different governmental bodies. In this regard, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (“Authority”) is authorized to conduct transactions in relation to authorization certificates. Therefore, individuals and entities to be authorized in this regard, shall pay TRY 10,000.00- and apply to the Authority for authorization.
In addition, among other general conditions, the Regulation brings out certain specific provisions for the sake of localization. Correspondingly, individuals and entities applying for authorization shall provide the following, (i) having a capital of TRY 500,000.00-, (ii) having a website and mobile applications in compliant with the standards set by the Authority, (iii) ensuring that servers storing the database in relation to e-scooter activities, are allocated within the borders of Republic of Turkey and open access to the Authority, (iv) owning at least 250 e-scooters and recording their id/plate numbers to the official transport automation system (“U-Net”) and (v) having valid quality certificates (TS EN ISO 9001, TS EN ISO 14001, TS ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO 45001). The Regulation further stipulates that public institutions and organizations and their affiliates do not have to meet the condition of having a capital of TRY 500,000.00, when applying for authorization.
The Authority, after concluding an affirmative evaluation process, issues an authorization certificate for five years through e-government system.
Further Details on Shared E-scooter Permission
As per the Regulation, individuals and entities granted authorization certificate shall also be granted an e-scooter permission for shared e-scooter operations. Accordingly, e-scooter permission is issued by metropolitan municipality transportation coordination centers (“UKOME”) in metropolitan provinces. However, in provinces where there is no metropolitan municipality, the permission is issued by the provincial traffic commission.
Moreover, in assessment of e-scooter permission, relevant authority would consider whether the use of e-scooters is planned in a way that will be integrated with public transportation vehicles. Besides, it further explains that individuals and entities given e-scooter permit, shall have their e-scooters in the field within forty-five days at the latest following the issuance of the permit. The e-scooter permission is issued for two years, yet after applying for renewal, it is renewed again for a year.
Obligations of Authorized Persons
The Regulation brings certain obligations to authorization certificate holders. Accordingly, authorization certificate holders can only operate within the boundaries of the municipality/region for which they have received permission. In this regard, if e-scooters are used within the boundaries of a municipality/region that has not been authorized, they must be brought within the boundaries of the municipality/region within forty-eight hours.
In addition, authorization certificate holders shall ensure the confidentiality and security of the information in relation to e-scooter operations by not disclosing any kind of information, providing information to third parties or causing anyone to do so. Among other obligations, authorization certificate holders are obliged to provide online (mobile / internet) training to the beneficiaries about their services and monitor this training process. Besides, the use of protective equipment such as helmets, knee pads, reflectors and jackets will be encouraged to the users of e-scooters by those who are granted authorization certificates. The Regulation explicitly establishes that authorization certificate holders cannot provide services to those who have not completed the age of fifteen.
By virtue of the Regulation, use of e-scooter will be subject to strict safety rules and e-scooters are not allowed to be used on intercity roads and highways with a maximum speed limit above 50km/h as well as on pedestrians’ roads. E-scooters will be used in a way that does not endanger the lives of disadvantaged groups (e.g., disabled, and elderly people) and will not be parked in a way that limits the property right of others, safe and independent mobility of persons and obstructs the traffic flow. It also emphasizes that carrying other persons and items except personal belongings on e-scooters, is forbidden.
Accordingly, e-scooters must be equipped with a headlight that can give white light and illuminate at least 20 meters in the front, a red light at the rear and a red reflector and a bell, horn or similar sound device that can make a sound that can be heard from 30 meters, in order to be noticed by drivers and pedestrians at night-time.
Ezgi Ceren Aydoğmuş