Residents in parts of South Gloucestershire, as well as new areas in North Bristol will soon be able to use rental e-scooters to access essential work and services.
Following the successful launch of the West of England e-scooter trial, the trial area for the ‘hop-on hop-off’ e-scooters is expanding to include Horfield and Lockleaze in Bristol and areas such as Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford and Filton in South Gloucestershire.
This latest expansion follows the roll out in January to Bishopston, St Werburghs, Easton and Bedminster in Bristol and Oldfield Park and Bathwick in Bath.
While the lockdown is in place the e-scooter operator, Voi Technology, is offering free rides to NHS workers, emergency service personnel and the armed forces, providing these key workers with a green and socially distanced alternative to commute to and from work.
With the trial expansion, the numbers of scooters will increase to 400 in Bristol and 200 in South Gloucestershire, giving more residents access to a green and flexible way to move around the city.
Since launch, back in October 2020, there have been over 100,000 rides taken, and over 246,948km travelled in the region
- In Bristol there have been over 86,327 rides taken by over 19,275 unique riders with over 207,111 km travelled.
- In Bath there have been over 17,325 rides and 5,557 unique riders with over 39,837 km travelled.
Mayor of the West of England Tim Bowles said: “The West of England has really embraced our e-scooter trial and I’m pleased that many more people will now have a chance to benefit from this low-carbon alternative to the car for short journeys to access essential work and services.
“E-scooters are part of our transport plans for the region alongside metrobus, MetroWest rail network and plans for a regional mass transit, to make it easier to get to the jobs and training opportunities that will secure our recovery.”
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure, Cllr Steve Reade, said: “We are really pleased and excited to see the West of England e-scooter trial launch in South Gloucestershire. During the pandemic we have seen many people adopt greener travel choices, especially for local journeys, and e-scooters will only continue to encourage this.
“E-scooters provide yet another low-carbon alternative for people who need to travel and support our Climate Emergency goals, as well as our ambitions to reduce congestion and emissions, improve air quality and keep South Gloucestershire moving.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “It is great that the initial e-scooter trial is being such a success, and that more people will now be able to use them in Bristol. I am pleased that the trial is expanding as well as providing free rides for many NHS and key workers.
“We want everyone to have access to low-emission alternatives to short car journeys, especially while public transport capacity is reduced for social distancing, and we’ll continue to make sure even more areas and employment locations are included in future expansions as the trial continues.
“Alongside our improvements to bus, walking and cycling journeys across the city and plans for a mass transit public transport system we want a world class transport network which connects the whole city.”
E-scooters are available to unlock for £0.99 and cost 14p per minute. There are also various discounts available and passes for students, key workers, and those on low-incomes.
To unlock an e-scooter, riders can download the Voi app, (available for free on iOS and Android) must be 18 years old or over and have a valid UK provisional driving licence (full or provisional). Safety measures to protect riders against Covid-19 include equipping all handlebars with anti-bacterial tape and ensuring the vehicles are regularly disinfected.
The West of England Combined Authority has also recently introduced long-term e-scooter rentals that can be stored at home and used by residents across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire giving unlimited access to cost-effective and socially distanced transport, within the entire geofenced WECA area.
Richard Corbett, Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said: “It’s a pleasure to continue to work with the West of England Combined Authority to continue to expand the number of scooters and operating areas in the region. As more people adopt this green mode of transport, ditching short-car journeys, we will certainly see improvements in congestion and in air quality in the region.”
The following rules and safety measures apply for the e-scooter trials:
- Only e-scooters that are hired or leased through the West of England’s trial can be used legally on roads, cycle lanes or cycle tracks.
- E-scooters cannot be used on pavements or parked in a way that disrupts pedestrians or causes nuisance.
- Using GPS technology, there will be no-ride zones and slow-speed zones for some areas.
- All e-scooters will have clear number plates to help identify riders.
- Driving licence and identity checks will be required.
- Voi ambassadors will be present on the streets to enforce safe behaviour.
- Ambassadors will work with Avon and Somerset Police to restrict or ban non-compliant users.
- Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use on roads, pavements, parks and any other areas. The only place that privately owned e-scooters can legally be used is on private land with the permission of the landowner.
The trial forms part of the West of England’s £28m plans for a Future Transport Zone in the region that will improve access to public transport for local communities through trialling innovative new transport technologies.
For more information: Travelwest page: https://travelwest.info/projects/e-scooter-trial
To view the expanded boundary, visit the Voi app. Download here: https://www.voiscooters.com/