Taunton’s shared e-scooter trial went live on 27 October 2020, serviced by Irish start-up Zipp. Even through the trial began with just 20 scooters, the fleet has already supported more than 1,000 rides in its first full week (the period 1 to 8 November 2020).
The scheme in the small Somerset town makes use of virtual parking bays to reduce street clutter. There are already 60 bays in use in the town’s marketplace, allowing parking for up to 240 scooters. With such a small fleet, that means there is always room to park.
Zipp is aiming to “have a parking bay on every street corner across the town,” boss Charlie Gleeson told Zag. Residents can suggest new bay locations directly to Zipp, which is working with the council to jointly identify some 40 additional locations for bays every week.
The data provided by Zipp for the first week of operation in Taunton is as follows:
- Users: 607 users
- Rides: 1,019 rides
- Total miles: 2,727
- Total time: 577hrs
- Average journey distance: 2.68 miles
- Average journey time: 34mins
The average journey distance and time are very similar to those seen by Zwings in Yeovil, which is another micro-fleet pilot. In both cases, comparing the average mileage with average journey time shows that riders are staying with their scooters longer than the ride necessitates, suggesting that they are using scooters for trips that are not simply A-to-B journeys.
Together, these two small towns and two small operators (together with similar data from Ginger in other small towns such as Redcar and Hartlepool) demonstrate that there is strong latent demand for this new type of sustainable transport outside the big cities favoured by the big fleet operators.
In Taunton, fees are set at £1 to unlock and 10p/min to ride (which is among the cheapest in the country). Zipp uses the Acton M Pro e-scooter in bright yellow and purple livery, and electric cargo bikes to rebalance its fleet. The company employs local staff for on-the-ground operations instead of following the gig-economy model of some its more established rivals. Maximum speed has been restricted to 13.5mph outside slow zones, and the minimum age to ride is 16.
Today, Zipp is launching in Aylesbury, ahead of a roll-out on Wednesday in High Wycombe; 25 e-scooters will be available at debut in both areas but per-minute ride fees are set at 15p, after the usual unlock cost of £1.