West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has started e-scooter rental trials in Bristol and Bath with provider Voi.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles and Cllr Dine Romero, leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, along with Voi Technology, the UK’s leading e-scooter operator, launched the new regional scheme at Bath’s Royal Crescent.
Over the next 12 months, residents and visitors will be able to hire an e-scooter for their commute to work or for travelling around the cities.
The trial’s operator, Voi, will create more than 60 jobs in the region during the trial, which is being led by the Combined Authority in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “With social distancing in place on public transport, our e-scooter trial is a chance for us to try a new, low carbon way to get our region moving, particularly up and down the big hills we have both Bristol and Bath.
“Alongside metrobus, our transformational MetroWest rail network and plans for a regional mass transit, we’re making it easier to get to the jobs and training opportunities that will secure our recovery.”
Initially, there will be 100 Voi scooters available in Bristol and 50 available to hire in Bath with more set to be introduced over time.
E-scooters will be available to unlock for £1 and cost 20p per minute.
There are also a variety of subscriptions available, as well as discounted passes for students, key workers, and those on low-incomes.
To ride a Voi e-scooter, a user must have a full or provisional driving licence and be at least 18 years of age.
Riders can download the Voi app for free in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
The trial will introduce several safety measures which exceed the UK government’s requirements, including:
- Initially, scooters will not exceed 10mph and will be slower in some areas until people get used to them.
- Using GPS technology, there will be no-ride zones and slow-speed zones for some areas.
- When a user travels out of the operational zone, they will be blocked, and the e-scooter will slow and stop.
- 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.
- Scooters will feature copper tape on the handlebars, which reduces the risk of contamination by viruses and bacteria.
- All scooters will be disinfected every 24 hours, and Voi will provide COVID-19 advice and information via the Voi app.
During the trial, Voi will hold weekly safety pop-up events where ambassadors will be on hand to answer any questions about how to use the scooters safely, as well as hand out free helmets for riders to use on their journeys.
All new riders will be encouraged to complete Voi’s digital e-scooter traffic school.