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Industry calls for e-scooter legislation with little more to learn from trials

Shared operator Voi, Milton Keynes Council and Liverpool City Council are calling for the UK government to set a clear date for legislation to secure the future of the industry stating that there is little more to learn from the trials. 

The government had previously committed to create a new, light zero-emission vehicle category for e-scooters, but the trials have since been extended until May 2024.  

Appearing before the Transport Select Committee this morning, Voi’s Head of Public Policy for UK, Ireland and Netherlands Matthew Pencharz, Brian Matthews, Head of Transport Innovation at Milton Keynes Council and Cllr Dan Barrington at Liverpool City Council were all in agreement that legislation is now needed. 

“Almost three years after the trials were first started, the demand for e-scooters is proven with Voi alone having 21m rides, replacing over 8m car journeys,” said Pencharz. 

“However, the industry doesn’t have certainty after May next year when the trials are currently due to end. 

“Legislation will allow more cities and towns to use e-scooters as a sustainable method of transport for their communities, providing a firmer footing for the industry and the jobs and investment connected with it.” 

Voi’s experience of operating spans across 18 e-scooter and e-bike markets in the UK making it the largest e-scooter hire company in the region. 

When asked if there is anything more to be learned from the trials, Pencharz said: “We feel there isn’t much more learning, we have proven the demand, we have proven it is a safe and sustainable mode and certainly the cities we work in are keen to see it normalised.”

Representing Milton Keynes – which has three operators and is now approaching two million trips – Brian Matthews agreed and said: “We are very close to the point where we are not learning much more from the trials.” 

The scheme in Liverpool launched in October 2020 with 100 vehicles around the city centre, which has now expanded to cover around 80% of the city with more than 2,200 vehicles on the streets. 

“It has been one of the most successful trial schemes across the UK with over 2.5 million rides,” said Cllr Dan Barrington.

“There have been public concerns over the parking of scooters and rider behaviour and we have worked with Voi to address these concerns and seen a lot of improvement over the past 18 months.

“I am keen to see the trials end and legislation come into place.”  

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