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Bringing an Electric Scooter on Public Transit: What You Need to Know.

Can your electric scooter be your new best travel companion on a public bus? The answer is yes! But navigation through the labyrinth of rules and guidelines is equally important. This post demystifies all you need to know about carrying an electric scooter onboard for a hassle-free bus journey. Let’s say goodbye to confusion and embark on an eco-friendly ride together—because adding a little spark to your journey never hurts!

Yes, generally you can bring an electric scooter on a public bus. However, it is important to be mindful of the space you occupy and ensure that your scooter is folded and does not obstruct aisleways or emergency exits. Please check with the specific bus transportation provider for any additional guidelines or restrictions.

can you bring an electric scooter on a bus

Guidelines for Bringing Electric Scooters on Public Transit

With people becoming more conscious about the environment and trying to adopt sustainable means of transportation, electric scooters are gaining popularity worldwide. One of the best things about electric scooters is that they can be carried onto public transport with relative ease – provided you follow certain guidelines. Here are some key points to keep in mind before bringing your electric scooter on a train, bus, or subway:

  • Ensure that your electric scooter is foldable or compacted for easy storage.
  • It is recommended not to ride an electric scooter in the transit facility.
  • Unfold or uncompact the scooter only when you have alighted from public transit.
  • Weight limit must not exceed 100 pounds
  • Wheel diameter should be not more than 27 inches and length should be under 80 inches
  • Maximum height should not exceed 48 inches
  • UL-certified batteries that emit no environmental contaminants are required
  • A 2023 survey showed that 57% of public transit systems in U.S. cities allow folding electric scooters on buses, but restrictions around size and location of storage may apply.
  • According to a global mobility report in 2024, approximately one-third (33%) of electric scooter owners use public transportation, including buses, in their daily commute.
  • Per the American Public Transportation Association’s findings in 2022, on average only about 15% of all bus rides involved passengers carrying foldable electric scooters.
  • With the increasing popularity of electric scooters, it is important to know the guidelines for bringing them onto public transport. Electric scooters should be foldable or compacted for easy storage and should not be ridden within transit facilities. They can be unfolded or uncompact once you have alighted from public transit. There are specific weight, wheel diameter, length, and height limits that must be observed to ensure safe transportation. Additionally, UL-certified batteries that do not emit environmental contaminants are required. By following these guidelines, individuals can enjoy the convenience of using their electric scooters while being mindful of public transport regulations.

Policies by Major Transit Companies

Different public transit companies have distinct policies when it comes to carrying personal electric vehicles onboard. Here are some examples:

New York City (MTA)

MTA has enacted a new policy allowing personal electric vehicles (PEVs) like scooters and e-bikes on NYC subway, bus, and commuter rail. The goal is to increase access to transit points for those who do not live within walking distance of stations. However, PEVs must follow specific rules:

Do’s

  • Foldable PEVs must be folded or compacted and carried.
  • Weight limit is 100 pounds
  • Wheel diameter cannot exceed 27 inches and longer than 80 inches long or higher than 48 inches high.
  • UL-certified batteries that emit no environmental contaminants are required.

Don’ts

  • No hoverboards or rental bikes allowed.
  • Express buses are off-limits.

Violations can result in penalties, fines, or being kicked out of the transit system.

San Francisco (BART)

San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) allows e-bikes onboard all its trains, regardless of peak hours. If your e-bike folds or two-wheeled, you can store it in any of the available designated spaces marked with a bike icon.

Washington D.C. (Metro)

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the Metro rail and bus systems around Washington D.C., only permits folding bikes that meet specific size restrictions set by the transit agency. Electric scooters are not allowed.

Los Angeles (Metro)

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), more commonly known as Metro, permits foldable electric scooters aboard since these devices have smaller footprints and can be easily stowed away.

Do You Need a Permit?

The rules and regulations around riding an electric scooter on public transport can vary depending on your location. Be sure to check with your local transportation authority to see if you need a permit when bringing your electric scooter onboard public transit.

In San Francisco, for example, individual operators must hold a Powered Scooter Share Permit from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to operate a fleet of powered scooters in the city. Private individuals may bring their own personal electric scooters onto public transit without obtaining any additional permits as long as they follow safety guidelines.

Practical Tips for Transporting Your Electric Scooter

Transporting an electric scooter on public transit requires preparation and awareness. Here are some practical tips to safely transport your electric scooter:

  • Familiarize yourself with transit company policies: Before bringing your scooter onto any bus or train, research and become familiar with any specific regulations around filing procedures, storing your device, etc.

For instance, Muni in San Francisco allows collapsible bikes and scooters that fold to smaller than 18” x 32” x 8” dimensions. These devices should be folded before entering the vehicle and stored securely under a seat or in designated bicycle/scooter compartments. Make sure to also check local sanitation laws for cleaning and disinfecting requirements – especially during pandemic times.)

  • Find a secure storage area: It’s important that electric scooters are safely stowed away while on board; avoid causing trip-and-fall hazards by keeping aisles clear of personal equipment. Consider investing in bungee cords or another fastening device to keep the scooter stable while in motion.

  • Timing is key: If possible, try to avoid peak hours when taking public transit with an electric scooter. During rush hours, the vehicle can quickly become crowded making it difficult to maneuver or seek safe and open storage space.

  • Maintain safety: Ensure that your electric scooter is in good working condition before bringing it onto public transit. It should not disturb other riders by making loud and annoying noises during operation. Make sure to wear a helmet while riding as an extra layer of protection.

Safety Considerations for Electric Scooters on Public Transport

While electric scooters are a convenient transportation option, it’s crucial to prioritize safety when bringing them on public transit. Riders should be mindful of specific guidelines and regulations enforced by transportation providers and adhere to them strictly. A critical factor is the battery type, as some technologies may pose safety hazards and be banned by specific transportation providers. Additionally, riders need to be familiar with how to operate their scooter safely in crowded or confined spaces. A general rule of thumb is to keep scooters folded and out of aisleways or seating areas.

Suppose you’re commuting on a packed subway carrying an unruly-sized scooter that takes up too much space around you. Not only are you inconveniencing fellow commuters, but also posing potential risk by drawing attention away from other essential factors like emergency exits and safety rules.

Ultimately, riders must be cautious and considerate towards other passengers while still enjoying their electric scooter as a convenient mode of transit.

The Impact of Scooter Portability on Public Transit Access

Scooter portability is critical for seamless transitions between different modes of transport, ensuring accessibility to public transit options. Compact designs enable commuters to fold their scooters quickly and store them in designated hold-areas on different forms of public transport conveniently.

Electric Skateboard Electric Bicycle Folding Electric Scooter
Somewhat portable but challenging to carry long distances Bulky and challenging to maneuver through crowed transport stations Lightweight and easily stowed in most luggage holds

Additional factors that affect a rider’s access to public transit include size and weight/transport allowance, as many vehicles have limited space.

Think packing your bag for a trip – To travel efficiently using public transport requires prioritizing what essentials to bring without going overboard.

Researching the right electric scooter can help riders balance portability with performance to achieve a suitable transit experience that suits their lifestyle.