By John Ensor •
Published: 28 Nov 2023 • 9:55
Electric scooters already banned On Madrid's Metro.
Credit: Metro Madrid/X
Is public safety at risk from personal mobility hardware? In a decisive move, Renfe, Spain’s national railway company, has announced a significant change affecting its passengers.
Renfe has prohibited electric scooters, unicycles, and other battery-powered mobility devices from all its train services, the ban will come into effect on December 12, writes 20 Minutos.
The services affected include Cercanias, Regionales, High Speep, and Long Distance trains such as AVE, Avlo, Alvia, Avant, Euromed, and Intercity. The decision stems from a series of hazardous incidents involving battery fires on public transport.
The prohibition, prompted by dangerous situations due to battery fires, extends beyond electric scooters to include unicycles and other similar devices.
Exceptions are made for electric bicycles and vehicles for individuals with mobility impairments. Renfe’s board of directors cites public health and passenger safety as the primary reasons for this policy, echoing measures implemented in other Spanish cities and European countries.
In 2021, Sevilla restricted the entry of electric scooters on the Metro during peak hours on weekdays. Catalonia followed suit in February this year after a scooter explosion on a Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) service in November 2022. Similarly, since November 4, the Madrid Region’s Regional Transport Consortium has prohibited these scooters in its transport facilities.
Internationally, rail operators in the UK and Ireland, as well as the London Underground and Hamburg, have also restricted the use of electric scooters on their trains.
Once in effect, Renfe has the authority to ask passengers carrying items deemed to be at risk to disembark. In Renfe-managed Cercanias stations, passengers with electric scooters will be informed of the ban, and random inspections by inspectors and security officers are expected.
Renfe’s decision is a response to the potential dangers posed by tampered or damaged batteries, the use of incompatible chargers, and general wear and tear. This move is aimed at ensuring the safety and smooth operation of its services, as well as protecting the well-being of its passengers.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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