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Bristol and Bath begin e-scooter trials today

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Voi moves into two new neighbourhoods today as Bristol and Bath get e-scooters.

The 12-month trial is being run by the West of England Combined Authority; Voi is the sole fleet provider in both cities. Bristol will get 100 of Voi’s V3X electric scooters at first; Bath will be served by 50. More may be added if there’s enough demand.

Voi has promised that 60 jobs will be created in the region in support of the trial. Fees are £1 to unlock and 20p/min to ride, alongside a plethora of discounted options for students, key workers and people with low incomes.

West of England mayor Tim Bowles said in an official statement: “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.”

“E-scooters are a great way to travel and will provide a low-emission option in Bristol, alongside our improvements to buses and walking and cycling routes across the city and plans for a mass transit system,” said Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees in the press release. “These options are more important than ever during the pandemic with reduced capacity on public transport, and will contribute to a more sustainable and connected future for Bristol.”

Bowles added: “The needs of vulnerable groups in our communities have been at the forefront of my mind as we’ve been preparing our trial. That’s why we’ve been listening to representatives of those groups both nationally and West of England specific organisations like Bristol Sight Loss Council, to make sure we are giving them the confidence they need. We will be introducing e-scooters gradually across the region, working closely with Voi, our councils and Avon & Somerset Police to ensure that e-scooters are used responsibly.”

Our take

It’s another modest roll-out, particularly for Voi which, in the early days of the trials, was aiming for hundreds of scooters in each location on debut.

But this shows how fast e-scooter operators have adapted to the British context, with early results showing that smaller numbers of scooters on introduction makes for more seamless integration and more sustainable growth. It’s a considerate and sensible approach and proves that these companies are listening to their local authority partners and residents.

Voi now has enviable scale across UK cities that will be invaluable in learning and responding to what works best in this country. RR

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Photography by

Peter Minnig / Spacesuit Media

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