Irish micromobility firm Zipp Mobility has launched a new e-scooter trial in Barnstaple, on the Southwest coast of England.
It is the company’s first expansion move since being recently acquired by fellow Irish micromobility firm Zeus Scooters, which created Ireland’s largest homegrown micromobility company.
With operations across five markets in the UK, the firm is already among the big players in the country.
Barnstaple’s scheme, which starts today, is part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) approved e-scooter trials in the UK. Zipp took over the city’s scheme after e-scooter operator Voi exited the market.
Focusing on safety, the trial features a fleet of 125 e-scooters in a bay-only model, with no free-floating vehicles. Short and long-term rental options will be available.
Zeus CEO Damian Young told Zag Daily the fleet will start small and increase gradually over time.
“The trial starts off with a safety demonstration in the town next week and further safety demonstrations will be scheduled throughout the summer.”
Zipp has also engaged with local employers to train ambassadors for their teams, and given free ride vouchers for those who take an orientation course before their first ride. Additionally, the company will give away helmets at events.
To encourage better accessibility, Zipp held discussions with representatives from disability organisations to address their concerns in the design of the trial.
“We have set up a stakeholder group that met for the first time last week and includes the Royal National Institute of Blind People,” said Young. “This group will be essential in continually evolving the scheme in Barnstaple and listening to the concerns of disability organisations.”
Charlie Gleeson, Founder and Chief Executive at Zipp Mobility, said: “We really hope that people will see the advantage of getting around town in a cleaner, greener way while being aware of and considerate to other road users and pedestrians. I believe this climate-conscious, community-spirited attitude will be the key to the trial’s success.”
Users must be at least 16-years-old and hold at least a provisional drivers license to ride an e-scooter. An ID Verification check will also be undertaken before a rider can hire a vehicle.
Additionally, geofencing technology will be enforced to prevent riders from going into wholly pedestrian areas or onto major roads. If they try, the scooter motors will slow down to a standstill until they return to a permitted riding route. The maximum speed limit is 15.5 mph.
There will be virtual parking bays at approved locations around the city. The Barnstaple Council welcomes suggestions from members of the public for new locations.