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Sunderland’s e-scooter trial to continue with Zwings takeover

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Zwings is set to take over the e-scooter trial in Sunderland, Northern England, after the previous operator Neuron pulled out, blaming rising energy costs as part of its decision. 

The new shared micromobility operator was appointed by Sunderland City Council and will replace Neuron’s familiar orange e-scooters with Zwings Sky Blue coloured ones from the start of December.  

Zwings has previously operated trials in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Yeovil and was recently acquired by Zeus Mobility Group, which operates in more than 30 cities across the world.

Chris Kemp, Head of Revenue and Development at Zeus, told Zag Daily that the company plans to launch 100 of their new e-scooter models in the city this winter. The scheme is then expected to more than double in size in 2023.

“Zwings will be focused on providing the service across all areas of Sunderland with compelling promotions and discounts for various demographics,” said Kemp.

Sunderland’s e-scooter trial so far

The trial has been running since November 2020 and is set to continue until May 2024 with the appointment of the new operator. 

So far, 40% of e-scooter trips in Sunderland have replaced car journeys, with 170,000 miles traveled by 20,000 unique riders, resulting in approximately 18 tonnes of carbon emission savings.

Neuron customers have received notification that passes, not already redeemed, will be reimbursed and no further ones will be on sale.

Cormac Quinn, Neuron’s Regional Manager for UK and Ireland, said: “Neuron has made the difficult decision not to reapply for a new e-scooter contract in Sunderland. A number of commercial factors, including increasing energy costs, have led us to make this decision.

“We thank Sunderland City Council for their trust and support throughout the trial and will work with them to achieve a smooth wind down of the service.”

Neuron’s withdrawal from Sunderland on 30 November will not affect the company’s operations in Newcastle.

Details on how to register and use the new service will be published in the coming weeks by Sunderland City Council. 

“We have a City Plan for a more dynamic, healthy, and vibrant Sunderland, and low carbon transport is a big part of this,” said the Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Cabinet Member for Clean Green City, Councillor Claire Rowntree.

COO at Zwings, Stephen Bee, commented: “We aim to enable more people to switch away from car usage and towards a smaller form of transport with lower carbon emissions. The e-scooter scheme in Sunderland will be designed with the scheme users and the wider community in mind and delivered in partnership with Sunderland City Council.”

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