An electric scooter trial has begun in Cheltenham and Gloucester, run by micromobility company Zwings for Gloucestershire County Council.
It seems that the scooters were made available in both towns yesterday, although little has been said on the matter by either the operator or council, in what is a very low-key launch.
Just 40 e-scooters will be made available in each location, scaling up to 60 if demand meets predictions.
The tender was published at the government contracts website on 17 July 2020, having already closed and been awarded to Zwings. The contract started on 27 July, according to the tender, although why it has taken until today to get scooters on the streets of the Gloucestershire towns has not been disclosed.
The stealth approach is a bit of a mystery but it may simply be that the operator hopes to avoid any safety and publicity issues associated with a sudden mass of riders trying out the new scooters at the same time.
There’s also been no word as to why the council selected Zwings. Yesterday’s launch means the small British company now has more active UK trial locations than Spin, Lime and Bird (the giants of the industry) put together.
This article was updated on 02 October 2020 to include information about the number of scooters available. The following comments were provided at the same time:
Nigel Moor, cabinet member responsible for environment and transport, said in a statement: “E-scooters are an exciting step into the future of green travel options and I am thrilled Gloucester and Cheltenham have been chosen to host a Government trial. I’m proud we are thinking outside of the box and looking at all options when it comes to carbon free transport. I hope residents, businesses and visitors will give it a try.”
Joe Lewin, Zwings chief executive: “We recognise that the first few months will be crucial to gain an understanding of the community’s response. This way we can continually seek to improve our service in order to best suit individual needs, including vulnerable groups such as the partially sighted. There are designated parking bays to prevent our e-scooters from being left in unsafe places. We know people are passionate about climate change and as Zwings e-scooters are some of the most carbon efficient machines in Europe, we hope they will be a welcome addition to the county.”