The development of sustainable transport in Kazakhstan's cities is a priority to solve problems of traffic congestion, pollution and the development of mobility in the passenger transport network. Based on a common understanding, shared mobility refers to the shared use of a car, motorbike, electric scooter, bicycle or other mobility mode. Shared mobility gives users short-term access to one of these modes of transport as needed.
According to experts of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the environmental effects of shared mobility will be positive not only in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, but also in terms of reduced traffic fumes into the atmosphere.
Such a positive environmental effect is in line with Kazakhstan's objectives of achieving carbon neutrality in general and moving towards a "green economy". In this regard, both the Government of Kazakhstan and various organisations in the country are interested in adopting certain plans and strategies.
Thus, in terms of shared mobility KazAvtoZhol JSC development strategy envisages carsharing as a catalyst for the development of competition in the transport sector due to the offer of technological change and the positive impact on the passenger transport segment by making it more attractive.
The Concept for the Transition of the Republic of Kazakhstan to a Green Economy provides for the development of alternative modes of transport and related infrastructure to meet the challenge of improving the energy efficiency of the transport sector.
Kazakhstan successfully presented a draft version of Carbon Neutrality Doctrine at the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow in autumn 2021. This doctrine addresses the transition to greener modes of transport such as electric scooters and bicycles.
Regulation of shared mobility in Kazakhstan
At the moment, the shared mobility market in Kazakhstan is at an infant stage and is represented by operators of electric scooters, bicycles and carsharing. For example, it should be noted that the first operators presenting such shared mobility services appeared in the Kazakhstani market 2-3 years ago.
However, shared mobility is not regulated by Kazakhstan's laws and regulations.
In particular, the concepts of carsharing, micro-mobility and shared mobility are not regulated. For example, the inaccurate equatingof electric scooters with mopeds in the current Law "On Road Traffic" causes controversy among government, service providers in the shared mobility sector and society as a whole. This is despite the fact that there are fundamental technical and operational differences between these means of transport.
The lack of appropriate classification and technical requirements for these shared mobility devices in the current legislation makes it impossible to establish the rights and obligations of persons operating electric scooters, segways, gyroscooters and other micromobility devices.
In 2020, deputies have already proposed amendments and additions to some of Kazakhstan's legislative acts on road traffic:
- The Draft Law "On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Road Traffic" proposed to introduce the concept of personal mobility facility intended for individual movement, equipped with an electric motor and not subject to registration with an authorized body (electric scooter, monocycle, gyroscooter, segway and other similar means).
- However, the relevant amendments were not adopted by the deputies due to the lack of specific technical characteristics and criteria for personal mobility devices, and it is also worth considering that the infrastructure for the movement of small electric vehicles is underdeveloped.
Due to the lack of appropriate regulation, many issues remain open regarding the places where micromobiles can be driven and parked. For example, movement of electric scooters on roads, pavements, pedestrian crossings and paths, cycle paths and cycle lanes should be regulated.
The following steps are being taken by government agencies and stakeholders to address these issues in Kazakhstan.:
- For example, in June 2021, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan announced the launch of a commission to amend legislation to approve rules for electric scooters.
- The association of ecological transport set up by the micromobile operators Jet, Eleven and Ozim is also involved in the discussion of the amendments. The term 'personal mobility facility' is proposed. This would include electric scooters, monocycles as well as segways. A weight limit of 35-40 kg and a maximum speed of 25 km/h are proposed for personal mobility facilities.
- However, there are no legal requirements for e-scooter parking. Electric scooter rental companies allow parking in designated parking stations, and some companies allow the electric scooter to be left on the pavement provided it does not interfere with pedestrians. The director of Jet is considering increasing parking and charging stations for electric scooters and believes that fines do not have a long-term positive impact on user behaviour.
- Senator Nurtore Zhusip also suggested developing regulations, standards and requirements for electric scooters and gyroscooters, taking into account the norms, industry technical regulations of the Eurasian Economic Union. At the same time, within the framework of customs senator asked to take appropriate measures to restrict imports of the above-mentioned types of micromobiles that do not meet the requirements of regulations and standards.
Kazakhstan is taking decisive steps towards green economy. Сreating favourable conditions and developing appropriate regulation for shared mobility will serve as a key component in supporting the global sustainable development agenda and achieving a green economy status in the future. This, in turn, should have a positive impact on the environment in general and on the inflow of foreign investment into Kazakhstan.
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