Bath’s e-scooter trial extends to eight square miles.

We’re getting used to seeing these battery-powered scooters around our city-centre streets and now more communities in Bath will be ‘benefitting’ from this more novel and energy-saving travel.

Voi, the UK and Europe’s largest e-scooter operator, has announced it’s quadrupling its operating area for its shared e-scooter scheme to eight square miles.

The scooters have reached Lower Swainswick!

Introduced over two phases, the first phase of the expansion has already seen Voi’s operating increase in June to 6 square miles and includes areas such as East Twerton, Oldfield Park, Bear Flat, Bathampton and Batheaston, amongst other areas.

The second phase sees the scheme open up to more people further south of Bath’s city centre to cover Southdown and Combe Down. 

My ‘instructor’ Sam with the new V5

The expansion follows the recent news of Voi launching its new Voiager 5 (V5) e-scooter, which rolled out onto the streets of Bath and Bristol earlier this month.

Aside from being Voi’s most circular vehicle yet, with components that are easier to repair and reuse and double the amount of recycled materials, the V5 has a new ergonomically designed handlebar with an integrated phone holder and a bigger front wheel for improved safety, along with greater shock absorption, for a smoother ride – even on rough surfaces around Bath.

Yours truly went along to “Bog Island” for an early morning tryout for himself and to meet Voi’s man in Bath, Sam!

Today’s good news means hopping on a Voi e-scooter – namely, the company’s brand new Voiager 5 – will become easier and more convenient as the service is now available to a significant portion of 100,000 people that live in the city.

Voi says it’s e-scooter scheme illustrates how micromobility can successfully integrate into a city the size of Bath and complement the existing public transport offer.

Since the scheme was launched in October 2020, more than a quarter of a million rides were taken on Voi scooters, helping prevent more than 70,000 unnecessary short car journeys and saving an estimated 30 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

With a larger operating area, more people will also be able to take advantage of the service and the various discounts available, including those on low incomes, NHS staff and students. For example, people from low-income groups are eligible to receive more than 80 percent off their rides via Voi-4-All discounts, which means those illegible could travel around for as little as £1.22 a day or for just £8.75 per month with Voi’s daily and monthly passes.

Sam Pooke, Voi’s Senior Public Policy Manager for UK and Ireland, said: 

“We are delighted Bath and North East Somerset Council has decided to expand our operating area. Their decision is a vote of confidence in what Voi has continued to deliver since launching the scheme in 2020 – a safe, reliable, affordable, and overwhelmingly popular service for all.

“With more e-scooters on the ground and more opportunities to take advantage of Voi as a sustainable alternative service for getting across the city, Bath is always one ride closer to improving air quality, tackling congestion and most importantly, creating a better city for living.”

Councillor Matt McCabe, Bath and North East Somerset Cabinet Assistant for Sustainable Transport, said:

“The purpose of including the whole city in these final months of the trial is to see whether e-scooters can reduce the number of short car journeys in Bath.

“The government has announced that it will bring forward legislation to legalise e-scooters later this year, so this is the last chance for residents to experience them in a controlled manner. Voi is ready to deal with any issues regarding the scooters, where they are parked, and how they are ridden.”

While Voi continues its mission to create better cities for living, safety remains the e-scooter company’s top priority. Besides encouraging all riders to complete the RideLikeVoila e-scooter traffic school, the company organises regular online and in-person safety events – the next one takes place on Saturday 2nd of July in Bristol – and has recently launched its newest safety campaign Let’s Get it Right to continue to educate riders to follow the rules of the road and ride safely.

The company also continues to invest in technology and infrastructure, including features such as the Parking Photo which ensures riders leave the scooter well parked at the end of each journey and the Report a Voi page which allows anyone to easily report any misplaced scooter or instances of misuse.

More information:

About Voi

Founded in 2018, Voi is a Swedish micromobility company offering e-scooter and e-bike sharing in partnership with towns, cities and local communities. We believe e-scooters can play a central role in changing how people move in our towns and cities in the future. We want to ensure that the micromobility transformation happens the right way – through real innovative technology, open and transparent dialogue with towns, cities and governments and by adapting our products to local needs. Voi has been a carbon-neutral company since January 2020 and has adopted the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guiding framework. 

Voi operates in over 90 towns and cities across 11 countries. It is headquartered in Stockholm and employs 1,000 people. To date, Voi boasts more than six million riders and has served more than 100 million rides. 

1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Walk Ride Bath and commented:
    Fantastic to see the Voi eScooter trial finally expand into something useful for Bath residents!

    There are however a few discrepancies which I think create problems for the expansion.

    Twerton is excluded and this is, in my opinion, down to Cllr Tim Ball and Cllr Sarah Moore who have very publicly opposed them. Ironic given that the majority of Bath employees working at the RUH live in Twerton and were given free access to use them during the pandemic.

    The fact eScooters are not legally useable, even at slow speeds, on the Kennet & Avon towpath and there is no connection between Batheaston and Bathampton forcing people to ride along London Road or along the A36 Warminster Road is just confusing (and dangerous). You can’t even use the toll bridge road! I really think Batheaston/Bathampton residents need to take this up with Cllr Warren as the eScooter trial is within her brief. Note *legal* eScooters are not useable on the river path either.

    I’m also perplexed by the greater access further up Bathwick Hill but not North Road and why it never quite got to the University. You’re going to see a hell of a lot of eScooters parked at the middle of Bathwick Hill and people walking the last 15 minutes to the University. I really hope there are plans to get it to reach the University.

    The mystery of why Odd Down Park and Ride gets access to eScooter but Newbridge and Lansdown P&Rs don’t? Does the council really want to encourage people to drive into residential areas just to grab an eScooter?

    Talking about mysteries, why is the 20mph Royal Avenue is still a slow zone? It’s downright dangerous to be riding along this road at walking speed while being overtaken by tourist buses doing 20-30mph. It’s a 20mph road and should not be part of a slow zone even if it goes through Victoria Park. You could of course introduce a 5mph speed limit here, but suspect you get objection. This needs fixing.

    The final issue, and I think this really needs looking at, is the complete lack of on-street car parking reallocation to eScooter parking. Do we really need our pavements unnecessarily littered with these? The message the council sends out is clear. It’s ok, dump them on the pavement! Designated *on street*, not on pavement, eScooter parking should have been rolled out as part of this expansion and again is within the remit of Cllr Sarah Warren to deliver. Don’t blame users for dumping their eScooter on the pavement when the council has told Voi exactly where on pavements they can be dumped.

    Honestly it’s fantastic to see a new form of cheap point to point public transport finally getting to the size it needed to be in the first place but the holes will encourage illegal eScooters.

    People living in Twerton, Bathampton, and Batheaston will give up and buy illegal eScooters. Ironically creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for Cllr Ball as I expect to see Twerton become illegal eScooter central because legal ones are not a viable option and illegal ones are phenomenally cheap to buy and run.

    By the end of the year private eScooters will be legal and all this moral panic/political interference should go away. It really cannot happen soon enough. I think, as a social justice issue, certain councillors doing their utmost to keep the cheapest, most convenient form of public transport out of their ward, one of the poorest in the city, is extremely short sighted and very very wrong.

    I realise this comes across as negative, but it really is highlighting some of the niggling issues that could have been easily solved as part of the expansion. For the majority of Bath residents, this is absolutely fantastic and paradigm shift in offering cheap personal on demand point to point public transport (not active travel!). For some residents though, they will feel very hard done by, and for very poor un-evidenced reasons.

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