Spain's Acciona rolls out electric motorbike sharing in Rome

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Acciona ANA.MC said on Friday it had launched its electric motorcycle-sharing service in Rome with an initial deployment of 500 battery-powered vehicles.

To minimize the coronavirus risk, Acciona said it would equip all motorbikes with hand gel, disinfectant wipes and helmet nets.

New Rome users must pay between 0.29 euros ($0.33) and 0.40 euros per minute to use the bikes, which are available to anyone with a car or motorcycle licence.

All the vehicles are charged with renewable energy, bringing down overall carbon-dioxide emissions, Acciona said.

Shared motorcycles, scooters and cars have become a fixture of European streets in recent years, as more cities restrict the circulation of conventional vehicles and seek to bring down emissions, a major urban public health issue.

Since launching the service in October 2018, Acciona has become the world’s largest operator of shared motorcycles, with over 10,000 red-and-white scooters dotted across five Spanish cities, as well as Lisbon and Milan.

The company does not provide revenue details on the service, which was largely idled between March and May due to coronavirus lockdowns.

Auto makers like Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE, Renault RENA.PA and PSA PEUP.PA have launched their own car-share schemes in a bid to offset the rise of ride-hailing services and declining car ownership among young people.

Reporting by Nathan Allen; Editing by Clara-Laeila Laudette and Andrew Cawthorne