It hasn’t been so much get your skates on as get scooting with the e-scooter trial – launched back in October 2020 by the the West of England Combined Authority – now passing the one million rides milestone, with over three million kilometres travelled on e-scooters around the region.
E-scooter operator Voi estimates that around 370,000 car trips have been replaced since the beginning of the trial, reducing over 200 tonnes of C02 emissions.*
The majority of rides are taking place in the city centres as people are using them to shop, run errands and go about their daily lives. Train stations are one of the most popular locations to start and end rides, suggesting that users are using Voi’s service to complement public transport journeys.
E-scooters were introduced in the West of England, including in Bath, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, to reduce pressure on public transport and offer residents a sustainable, convenient and affordable way to travel around, allowing them to leave their cars behind.
Nick Piggott, a Voi user from Bristol, said: “Voi e-scooters make it easier to travel around. People opt for using a Voi instead of driving. It saves a lot of space and helps the environment.”
As part of the trial, the West of England Combined Authority area was the first place in the UK to offer residents both the Voi hop-on-hop-off and the long-term rental options. So far, over 650 people have applied for the long-term rental scheme, and currently, nearly 400 people are taking advantage of this green and cost-effective way to travel.
Voi’s long-term e-scooter rentals can be used by residents across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, giving them unlimited access to a scooter they can use to travel in the West of England region.
While the lockdown was in place, Voi offered free rides to NHS staff and key emergency workers, and over 120,500 rides were taken for free in the region, with over 4,000 users taking advantage of the full discount. Voi also offers discounted rides to vaccination centres and continues to offer discounts for students and those on a low income.
Jack Samler, General Manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said: “People in the West of England have embraced Voi’s e-scooters, whether it’s for riding to work, running errands or visiting friends and family. At Voi, we are delighted to continue to work with the West of England Combined Authority, ensuring everyone can benefit from the introduction of this safe and carbon-neutral mode of transport. E-scooters have the potential to change the way we move around our cities and towns, and our mission is to help to create cities that are better and healthier places to live.”
Safety is a priority and Voi, the West of England Combined Authority and Avon & Somerset Police continue to work hard to ensure riders know the rules of the road and are safe when they are on the move. Voi continues to educate its riders with online and in-person safety training events where it distributes free helmets to riders. Recently the micromobility operator made its three-strike policy stricter, and users who do not follow the e-scooter usage rules will see their accounts blocked temporarily or permanently. Residents are also encouraged to report instances of anti-social behaviour or misuse via this page.
Supt. Simon Brickwood, of Avon & Somerset Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “We’re keen for riders to be aware that e-scooters are subject to the same road traffic legislation as cars or mopeds and are only legal for use as part of government-led trial schemes. While they may not be capable of high speeds, irresponsible e-scooter use puts pedestrians, motorists and the riders themselves at risk.
“However, whilst we are have seen some limited incidents of poor rider behaviour, these represent a small minority of e-scooter users, with the vast majority complying with the rules. Working closely with the local authority and Voi, we are actively engaging with e-scooter users as part of our regular patrols and issuing safety advice where appropriate.”