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Industry urges government to expand trial schemes

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Micromobility operators are urging the UK government to expand the e-scooter trial zones ahead of their planned extension until 31 May 2024. 

On Wednesday, Zag broke the news that the Department for Transport (DfT) is going to extend the trials beyond 30 November 2022 when they were due to end.

Local authorities can now either withdraw from the trials or continue with an extension to 31 May 2024. 

But what is not yet clear is whether the trial zones will be expanded so that more towns and cities can participate under the new terms of the extension. As it stands, huge swathes of the country remain unable to unlock the benefits of micromobility – including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. 

Beryl CEO and Co-Founder Philip Ellis told Zag: “Given that the trials were initially set up within a short notice period, and during the pandemic, we would urge the government not to restrict the extension to existing schemes.

“Many authorities are now in a much better position to develop safe and successful e-scooter trials, which could provide further evidence to better inform any future decisions.”

Victoria Springthorpe, Bird’s Head of Policy and Partnerships for UK and Ireland shared the same sentiment.

“It’s obviously great that the government sees the positive impact of the trials and extended them once again. We do however believe that there is an opportunity to welcome new cities to join the trials, so that they too can reap the benefits of micromobility and help reduce carbon-emitting car trips.”

While operators believe the trials should be opened up to new regions, the sector is pleased to see the government set out plans to avoid a cliff-edge ending to the existing trial zones.

It does mean “we can continue to deliver our eco-friendly transport service without interruption,” said Springthorpe.

Duncan Robertson, Dott’s General Manager for UK and Ireland, said: “We are continuing to see increased demand for our services, as more people realise the advantages of shared e-scooters for efficient and reliable travel. We welcome this extension which will create a bridge between the end of existing trials and new regulation being in place, allowing operators to provide an uninterrupted service and build on the growth we have seen so far.”

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