Taxi app Free Now to help drive e-scooter trial on DCU campuses

Matthew Joyce

DCU has linked up with ride hailing app Free Now to help carry out the trial in the use of e-scooters around campuses.

This latest collaboration with the transport service company will allow DCU students and staff to rent e-scooters to get around the campus.

The trial, which began in July with the help of e-transportation manufacturer TIER Mobility, aims to gather information to help lawmakers here in Ireland form legislation on the safe use of e-scooters in Ireland.

When you open the Free Now app while on campus, the app will immediately advertise the new initiative.

The company are calling this rental scheme a “whole new way to get around campus, and note the e-scooters are only available for DCU students and staff.

The app also gives a guide on how to begin the rental, unlock the e-scooter, and push off.

The guide tells students and staff to scan the specific scooter’s QR code in order to unlock it on the app, and then “kick the kickstand up, step on the deck with one foot and push off with the other”.

Free Now is also recommending users to always wear a helmet, watch out for pedestrians, and not to ride on footpaths.

According to the app, rentals appear to be free, with the map giving a location of each available e-scooter, along with details of its battery level and e-scooter number.

This trial is the first of its kind in Ireland, with Niall Carson, General Manager of Free Now Ireland, saying they were delighted to partner with TIER and DCU for this trial.

“This scheme will positively contribute to the safety standards for e-scooter usage in Ireland and we hope it will support the government’s rollout of legislation in the coming months”

Fred Jones, Northern Europe General Manager of TIER said it is a “valuable learning opportunity” for cities that are exploring the future of micro-mobility.

Mr. Jones also added that the addition of Free Now would help “generate more compelling insights”.

TIER is all too familiar with these projects and trials. Over 130 cities have used TIER’s electric vehicles across Europe and the Middle East.

TIER e-scooters are also equipped with Computer Vision technology by DCU’s own Luna Systems, which creates technology to precisely locate electric vehicles.

This trial is the next step in a process that got underway in February, when the Government approved plans to draft legislation to regulate the use of e-scooters and e-bikes on Irish roads.

Under the legislation, e-scooters will be categorised as ‘powered personal transporters’, and will not require the rider to have tax, insurance or a drivers’ licence in order to own and use one.

Speaking at the launch of the trial in July, Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said “Ireland is truly leading the way in the space of the use of e-scooters and I very much look forward to seeing this pilot get moving across DCU campuses”


Matthew Joyce


Image Credit: Julien Behal