Scoot up that hill

I have noticed the queues are getting longer for the Bath University bus. I witnessed one turning up full – opposite the Bus Station – and unable to take many of those waiting on board.

Well, here’s some good news. Students and residents can now take advantage of an easier commute up Widcombe Hill, after the West of England’s e-scooter trial was extended to cover the University of Bath’s Claverton Down campus.

 (L – R):
Councillor Matt McCabe: Bath & North East Somerset Council cabinet assistant for planning and sustainable transport
Ian Blenkharn: University of Bath director of education and student services
Councillor Sarah Warren: Bath & North East Somerset Council deputy leader and cabinet member for climate and sustainable travel
Alfie Marsh: Voi Bristol & Bath vehicle mechanic team lead

The third phase of the e-scooter trial in Bath, which was introduced in 2020, now extends to over eight square miles to enable more people to easily commute or take short journeys around the city, including up Widcombe Hill to reach the University of Bath.

The West of England is one of only four Future Transport Zones in the country, set up to trial new transport technologies, such as e-scooters, to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and lower carbon emissions.

The e-scooters, which have replaced approximately 90,000 car journeys since being introduced, can be hired by anyone aged 18 and over with a provisional or full UK driving licence, between 6am and 10pm.  They are limited to 12.5mph, even when coming down Widcombe Hill, for additional safety and all users are strongly encouraged to wear appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, and follow Voi’s safety guidelines.

Councillor Sarah Warren, deputy leader and cabinet member for climate and sustainable travel, said: “I am delighted our successful e-scooter trial is being extended to incorporate the University of Bath.  With over 3,500 employees and nearly 20,000 students, the university is one of our area’s largest organisations. 

“The e-scooters will give people more choice on how they travel, especially for short journeys in and around Bath.  They’re a great alternative to using private cars, yet still enable you to quickly and easily move from A to B.  They’re one of a number of sustainable travel measures we’re supporting to help tackle congestion, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, in line with the council’s journey to net zero priorities.”

 (L – R):
Councillor Sarah Warren, Ian Blenkharn, Councillor Matt McCabe and Alfie Marsh

Ian Blenkharn, director of education and student services at the University of Bath, said: “It’s great news that students, staff and visitors now have another option for cheap and sustainable transport to campus from the centre of Bath, in addition to the vital bus routes on offer.  Safety is of course our priority and we strongly encourage all riders to use the e-scooters responsibly and wear appropriate equipment, including helmets, at all times.”

Grace Packard, senior policy manager for Voi UK and Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to have expanded our operating area to the University of Bath as we are determined to get more people riding to support this historic city in achieving its net zero ambitions.

“Key to the success of micro-mobility and creating greener, cleaner cities is by giving more people the opportunity to leave their cars behind through expanding operating areas and offering a rental service and mode of transport, which is not only convenient and flexible to their everyday needs but is safe and sustainable.”

In celebration of the expansion to the University of Bath, Voi is offering user discounts.  New users can receive one free 30-minute ride using the discount code ‘BACKTOIT22’ (valid until 31 October 2022), while existing users can receive a £5 voucher by completing the Ride Like Voila traffic school or taking a helmet selfie after their next ride.

To find out more, visit or download the Voi app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Photos © University of Bath.


  1. I would think this was good news if Voi provided more better scooters
    for the steep hills. Having been behind a young man wobbling his way up
    Lansdown, and watching two people come down the same hill, I do not
    think the ones which are OK on the (fairly) level centre of town are
    stable or powerful enough for the hills which surround Bath. Scooters
    with two back wheels and more powerful motors would make this exercise
    much safer.

    Kirsten Elliott

  2. Interesting to hear from Cllr Warren that the trial isn’t really a trial at all, but a foregone conclusion. “I am delighted our successful 🤔 e-scooter trial is being extended..”.
    Also interesting that she didn’t say “The e-scooters will give (only some) people more choice on how they travel…. (as long as they’re fit and able, with good balance, don’t have any shopping to carry, don’t have a passenger and don’t mind the rain”).
    Also interesting that Ian Blenkharn, University of Bath didn’t say “It’s great news that students, staff and visitors now have another option for cheap transport to campus, in addition to the (now-less-than-vital) bus routes (that soon won’t be) on offer (because eScooters will make them unviable for the bus operators.)“
    Smacks of yet another policy imposition stitch-up by our ‘Green’ Council, one which won’t “ reduce congestion, improve air quality and lower carbon emissions..” because they were never properly measured before their Cleveland Bridge fiasco.

  3. On a more positive note(which hurts), it might help reduce University traffic which contributes to 40% of the peak-time traffic congestion over the Cleveland Bridge. If that turns out to be the case (who’s measuring, B&NES?), then bring them on. Then, and only then, will they prove to be of some value.

  4. Is there any actual evidence that scooter use has eliminated 90,000 car journeys as claimed? I suspect that is just the total number of rentals because looking at those riding scooters it seems most are in their 20s and early-30s – the group least likely to own a car. If so, scooters are having an unintended consequence – reducing walking/cycling and, crucially, bus ridership (thus further undermining the economics of bus transport within the city). If this is the case, it would be *very* negative outcome – decent public transport being absolutely essential if car usage is to be reduced city-wide.

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