E-scooters are now available to hire in Bath and Bristol. The trial is being led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) using Voi Technology, who are also operating schemes in Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Liverpool.
The trial will run for 12 months and result in the creation of 60 jobs.
It is hoped that the new carbon-neutral e-scooters will take pressure off public transport, helping people travel in a socially-distant manner without turning to cars.
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said: “We are excited to be bringing Voi’s coral scooters to Bath and Bristol, two modern cities at the forefront of culture, science and technology.
“As the pandemic continues, people are looking for alternative ways to go about their journeys and Voi’s scooters are a safe, low-carbon alternative to public transport and car journeys. We can’t wait to see how residents and visitors to these great cities enjoy using Voi e-scooters.”
There will initially be 100 Voi scooters available in Bristol and 50 in Bath with more to be introduced at a later date.
E-scooters can be unlocked for £1 and cost 20p per minute. There are also various subscription options available, as well as discounted passes for students, key workers, and those on low-incomes.
The Mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles, said the trial was a chance to try a new, low carbon way to get the region moving.
“We’ve worked very closely with the police, and with our councils and others on how these are installed, and also very closely with the operators.
“If you look at the scooters they’ve all got a unique registration plate on them, so people can identify an individual. Voi are then able to look at who is hiring them to share that information if need be.
“The important thing is there are lots of measures in place. You have to have a full or provisional driving licence. You have to be able to prove that you have that before you are able to hire a scooter.
“These scooters are built to a very high standard – the things you see on the road are frankly cheap imitations.
“Lots of work has gone in, with lots of engagement with different groups. We’ve consulted with so many people to give them the confidence that our trial is being responsibly managed.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, added: “E-scooters are a great way to travel and will provide a low-emission option in Bristol, alongside our improvements to buses and walking and cycling routes across the city and plans for a mass transit system. These options are more important than ever during the pandemic with reduced capacity on public transport, and will contribute to a more sustainable and connected future for Bristol.
“We made proposals to government more than two years ago to trial e-scooters in Bristol and we are delighted that this is now happening. We welcome the investment and jobs that Voi are bringing to the city and we are working closely with them to ensure e-scooters are used responsibly and safely.”