The West of England Combined Authority has selected Voi to run a 12-month electric scooter trial. The trial areas will include the major cities of Bristol and Bath and are due to go live later this month.
“I’m really pleased to announce Voi as the operator for our e-scooter trials, which will provide a new, low carbon way to travel around the region,” said Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, in a statement. “This is a real benefit for our region while social distancing is in place on public transport, but also it’s a great opportunity to understand the role that these might play in supporting our longer-term sustainable transport solutions.”
Voi’s e-scooters will carry number plates, as they do in other trial areas run by the Swedish micromobility operator (including Birmingham and Northampton). The company says that is will create 60 local jobs under the programme. The scooter fleet will be expanded gradually to avoid problems associated with sudden introduction, such as Coventry’s explosion of riders in its first few days.
The council is keen to learn lessons from other trial areas to ensure a smooth uptake. Bowles continued: “We have been talking with our colleagues from other combined authorities running e-scooter trials around the country in order to learn from their experiences. We are working closely with our councils and Avon & Somerset Police to ensure that e-scooters are used responsibly as part of the trial.”
Voi’s UK boss, Richard Corbett, doubled-down on his recent comments that the misuse of scooters should be viewed as antisocial behaviour: “To ensure the scheme gets off to a smooth start, Voi is making use of licence plates to help identify any misuse of our e-scooters, as well as investing in ambassadors on the streets to ensure that any anti-social behaviour is stopped in its tracks. We are committed to ensuring that the launch is equitable for all, including the blind and partially sighted.”