Southmead, Brislington, Emersons Green and Weston (in Bath) are among the new areas where residents will soon be able to use rental e-scooters to access essential work and services.
Following the successful launch of the West of England e-scooter trial, the trial area for the ‘hop-on hop-off’ e-scooters is expanding from Wednesday 24 March to include new areas including the Royal United Hospital in Bath and Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
New areas in the trial include:
- Emersons Green
- Staple Hill
- St George
- Upper Weston
- Lower Weston
While the lockdown is in place the e-scooter operator, Voi Technology, is offering free rides to NHS workers, emergency service personnel and the armed forces, providing these key workers with a green and socially distanced alternative to commute to and from work. Almost 1,600 riders have used the “Voi 4 Heroes” scheme – making a total of more than 21,500 rides.
Since the launch of the West of England e-scooter trial, in October 2020, there have been over 225,000 rides taken and almost 615,000 miles travelled.
E-scooters are available to unlock for £0.99 and cost 14p per minute. There are also various discounts available and passes for students, key workers, and those on low-incomes.
To unlock an e-scooter, riders can download the Voi app, (available for free on iOS and Android), they must be 18 years old or over and have a valid UK driving licence (full or provisional). Safety measures to protect riders against Covid-19 include equipping all handlebars with anti-bacterial copper tape and ensuring the vehicles are regularly disinfected. Users are also encouraged to where cycle helmets.
The West of England Combined Authority has also recently introduced long-term e-scooter rentals that can be stored at home and used by residents across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire giving unlimited access to cost-effective and socially distanced transport, within the entire geofenced WECA area. For more information visit the e-scooter trial page on Travelwest.
The following rules and safety measures apply for the e-scooter trials:
- Only e-scooters that are hired or leased through the West of England’s trial can be used legally on roads, cycle lanes or cycle tracks.
- E-scooters cannot be used on pavements or parked in a way that disrupts pedestrians or causes nuisance.
- Using GPS technology, there will be no-ride zones and slow-speed zones for some areas.
- All e-scooters will have clear number plates to help identify riders.
- Driving licence and identity checks will be required.
- Voi ambassadors will be present on the streets to enforce safe behaviour.
- Ambassadors will work with Avon and Somerset Police to restrict or ban non-compliant users.
- Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use on roads, pavements, parks and any other areas. The only place that privately owned e-scooters can legally be used is on private land with the permission of the landowner.
The trial forms part of the West of England’s £28m plans for a Future Transport Zone in the region that will improve access to public transport for local communities through trialling innovative new transport technologies.