Segway Scooters

Are Electric Scooters Allowed on Buses in Australia?

Electric scooters are fast becoming one of the most popular methods of transport for inner-city Australians looking to ditch the car for something more economical, affordable and faster than battling city traffic.

Source: CitiesToday

Although all electric scooter riders must adhere to road rules and follow basic road safety guidelines, what about bringing your electric scooter aboard your morning bus? Is that allowed? And if so, what’s the best way to prepare your electric scooter to go on public transport? How can you secure your electric scooter whilst aboard?

Let’s look at how electric scooters can be safely integrated into existing public transport infrastructure and prepare you to take your e-scooter aboard your morning commuter bus.

National guidelines for carrying electric scooters on buses

Unfortunately, for many Australians who rely on their electric scooter to get around, there are no hard and fast legislation permitting or denying them access to a bus if they carry an electric scooter. However, the Australian Government has left legislation up to the individual states, local councils or public transport authorities. 

In general, you can bring your electric scooter aboard a bus, but you should be prepared for the bus driver to refuse you access. Always have an alternative plan in place if you are denied.

Different rules for different types of buses 

Different types of buses may have different rules – for example, a larger bus with a larger load capacity may be more willing to allow an e-scooter aboard than a small bus. 

Additionally, buses used for transporting disabled individuals and their personal mobility devices are off-limits to non-disabled persons with their electric scooters. They do not fall into the same classification and cannot use the same buses. 

Check with your local public transport authority, your local council, or your local bus provider to see if they will permit you to bring your electric scooter aboard, subject to the driver’s discretion.

State-specific regulations and variations

When it comes to bringing your electric scooter onboard public transport, the rules vary by state and are ultimately left up to the discretion of the bus drivers themselves. 

  • In Brisbane, QLD, powered scooters (other than personal mobility devices) are not allowed aboard buses.
  • In Canberra, ACT, under the Transport Canberra Carriage of Goods Policy, bus drivers also have full discretion over whether or not to allow your electric scooter aboard their bus. 

You’ll generally have a better chance of your e-scooter being accepted if folded. In the case of non-folding e-scooters, it will need to be stored securely and safely.

  • In Perth, Western Australia, no powered scooters are allowed aboard public buses, unless they are folded and measure less than 120cm x 68cm x 90 cm.
  • In other parts of Australia, it is similarly up to the driver’s discretion whether or not your electric scooter is permitted aboard their bus. But, in New South Wales, as electric scooters are not permitted to be ridden on public roads in any form, you may have a more difficult time than in Tasmania or Queensland, where laws are more relaxed.

How to prepare your electric scooter

Preparation is the key to a successful, pleasant and accident-free journey onboard public transport buses in Australia. Take steps to prepare your scooter for the journey, and listen and follow the directions of the bus driver. Here are some tips on preparing your electric scooter for its maiden bus voyage.

Source: Scooter Geeks

Foldable and non-foldable scooters

For non-foldable scooters, at the bare minimum, you’ll need to ensure that the scooter is powered off and, if the handles fold in, that they’re tucked in. This will ensure they aren’t a potential hazard if the scooter moves around unexpectedly in transit. 

This is a rather simplified process for foldable electric scooters. Simply fold your scooter as you normally would, locking the folding mechanism into place (or using Velcro or other straps if it doesn’t have a built-in fold lock). If your handles fold, additionally fold those in before carrying the scooter onboard the bus. 

In either case, always power down your scooter before boarding any bus.

Battery safety and precautions

Before boarding any public transportation, always turn off your electric scooter battery and if necessary, remove it from the scooter itself to prevent accidental activation of the electric motor.

Inspect your battery housing to ensure it has no hole or leaky spot from which battery acid could leak. You may also want to put your battery in your backpack.

Securing your scooter for bus travel

Before your bus arrives at the designated bus stops, you should ensure that your scooter is properly folded down and that it is locked into place if your scooter is foldable. For non-foldable scooters, ensure that it is locked securely to the bicycle rack of the bus.

Or, if aboard the bus and the bike rack is unavailable, tuck your scooter away somewhere that will not inconvenience other passengers or make it difficult or dangerous for them to maneuver. While aboard, ensure you stay by your scooter, maintaining hands-on with it to stop it from accidentally falling over or moving during transport.

Boarding the bus with your electric scooter

Source: Electrek

Wheelchair and mobility device access

When boarding a bus with an electric scooter that isn’t an electric wheelchair or other personal mobility device, you should expect to come second in the pecking order to those with electric wheelchairs or personal mobility devices. They will come first on any public transport in the country.

It’s beneficial to check if your bus has a bike rack that they’ll permit you to use instead of bringing your electric scooter onboard if there are many persons with mobility aids onboard.

Communication with bus drivers

Always communicate effectively, efficiently, calmly and politely with a bus driver on any bus transport system. These people can deny you and your e-scooter access to their bus! Ask directly if you can bring your e-scooter aboard and do as instructed by the driver at all times. 

If the scooter can only travel aboard the bike rack, then that’s where it will go. If a foldable e-scooter is required to travel on that particular bus, and yours isn’t, then unfortunately, you may have to make alternative arrangements.

If you are refused entry because of your e-scooter, there’s no point in arguing about it, just make a note of it in your head and adjust your travel plans accordingly. Alternatively, call your local council and ask them what your best option may be if you need to travel with your electric scooter.

Paying your scooter’s fare
Sometimes, a bus service or bus driver may ask for an additional fee for bringing your electric scooter on public transport. This fare will likely be listed on the transport service’s website, or you can call their customer service hotline to ask about additional fees for your e-scooter.

Tips for travelling with your electric scooter on the bus

It’s not always easy to work out how to travel properly with your electric scooter so that it doesn’t get damaged and, more importantly, doesn’t cause injury to yourself or other bus riders while in transit.

Source: New Atlas

Proper placement and storage 

If you can travel on the bus with your electric scooter, you must ensure it is stored correctly and safely. If you can, always utilise the bike rack to store your e-scooter, secure it there tightly with straps and double-check to ensure it’s not going anywhere.

If you must carry your electric scooter on public transportation, ensure that it is folded (if it folds up) and stored under your seat or in an area away from others but within reach of you. This could mean standing up and securely gripping the folded scooter for your bus journey.

Safety considerations for other passengers

When travelling anywhere with your electric scooter, rules and safety should be your priority. While waiting at the bus stop, ensure that your scooter has no sharp points, such as a jagged plastic edge that you haven’t gotten around to fixing yet.

Ensure that your wheels are covered or not dirty nor filled with debris or any slippery substances like oils that you could transfer to the bus floor. Additionally, ensure that your scooter’s handles are pointed away from the eyes and faces of other passengers as your scooter moves throughout the bus journey.

Never leave your electric scooter running while on the bus, even for short journeys. If you cannot store your scooter on the bike rack, ensure it is securely tucked away from the main aisle of the bus so as not to cause a tripping hazard for other passengers.

Exit strategies and unloading

An exit strategy for getting off the bus is critical with a foldable or non-foldable electric scooter, particularly the latter. First, look around and see if you can position yourself near an exit door, particularly if carrying your electric scooter onboard. This will allow you to get off the bus quickly without having to filter through other people, which could cause disruptions or delays.

If you have a non-folding electric scooter, try to find a spot where your scooter can rest against the bus’ internal frame that is out of the way of other bus users. If you have a foldable e-scooter, try to store it under your seat if possible. Or, use the bike rack.

When using the bike rack, ensure that the bus has come to a complete stop and that you have informed the driver that you’ll be dismounting. Quickly unlock and remove your electric scooter from the rack and move away from the bus. 

Alternatives and special services

For those who use their electric scooter daily as a commuting tool rather than a recreational riding machine, there are a few alternatives to daily bus use to consider and prepare for if your bus cannot take your electric scooter and you, for whatever reason, on any given day.

Accessibility services for riders with disabilities

Suppose you are using an e-scooter as a mobility device. In that case, you will likely need to display a sticker or paperwork that confirms your right to have priority access aboard buses as an e-scooter rider with a personal mobility device or PMD.

If you’re planning to board a bus, but a person using a PMD requires access, you should be willing to give up your seat to that person, or you may be asked to do so by the bus driver.

Bike racks and special bus services

Using a bike rack that isn’t full may be a great option for on-bus travel if your bus is too crowded to allow a non-foldable electric scooter onboard safely. Ask your bus driver if you can use the bike rack first.

Another option for e-scooter riders is Queensland Rail’s Translink option, which provides e-scooter accommodations on the Translink rail system.

Ride-sharing and electric scooter integration

If your buses are frequently too full to grant you access with your electric scooter, you may have to seek other transport options. This can include ride-sharing, which can be found online via Facebook groups or local ridesharing applications on your mobile phone.

Alternatively, you may find an e-scooter sharing scheme in more major centres, where you can hop on and off your electric scooter and park it in designated parking areas to use another electric scooter from that area to get to your destination. These schemes are designed to integrate electric scooters in a daisy chain-like effect, allowing more people to use electric scooters as a travel option within major centres.

Summing up

When bringing your privately owned escooter or public scooter aboard a bus motor vehicle, always ensure it is securely locked into place if foldable or otherwise secured if non-foldable. 

Turn the battery off and place it on the bike rack or other bicycle storage, ready for transport. While on the bus, ensure your scooter is securely by your side or as close by as possible and is of no danger to other passengers.

Listen to and follow all directions from the vehicle drivers. Make sure you have sorted your trip planner accordingly. And always thank them for allowing you to bring your e-scooter. A little grace and gratitude go a long way.

To ensure that you can continue to bring your electric scooter aboard your city’s public transport, whether on a bus or light rail, keep up-to-date with any city council policy changes and always call and ask your local council if you have questions.

Frequently asked questions

Can I bring my electric scooter on any type of bus?

In general, electric scooters are permitted on most public transport in Australia. However, there are certain buses, such as disability transport buses, where individuals cannot ride without a permit, and you will not be permitted to bring your electric scooter aboard.

Do I need to inform the bus driver in advance?

If possible, it’s always a good idea to inform your usual bus driver if you’ll be bringing an electric scooter aboard the bus. You may also submit an email or place a phone call to your local public transport network asking permission for a special permit to bring an e-scooter aboard if the public transport authority or your local council requires that.

What happens if the bus is too crowded?

Suppose you discover that the bus you intend to travel on with your electric scooter or kick scooter is too crowded for your electric scooter to fit on the bus, even folded up. In that case, you may need to use the bike rack to store your e-scooter for your ride.

Ask your bus driver what your options might be in an overcrowded bus.

more from the blog

Are Electric Scooters Hard To Ride?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought that an electric scooter would be fun to learn to ride. Each year, they gain in popularity because riding an electric scooter can be a great way to get fresh air once you become an experienced rider. 

Read more >

Are Electric Scooters Easily Stolen?

If you’ve been out in Brisbane in the past five years, you know that using scooters for commuting grows in popularity every year. Given how the number of people buying an electric scooter is expected to increase over the next 10 years, you might even have been riding one yourself. 

Read more >