The new Bristol electric scooter trial is about to launch a second trial which would allow people to take them home and effectively ‘own’ them.
The scooter scheme has seen hundreds of scooters left in the city centres of Bristol and Bath since the autumn, with people able to hire them from just a five minute period up to a day.
But now the Swedish firm that is running the trial is set to launch a lease scheme where people pay a monthly fee and get their own e-scooter to take home.
The scheme is going to be open to anyone who lives in the West of England Combined Authority area – that’s Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset, but not, yet at least, North Somerset.
It is to be the second stage of the pilot scheme which allows electric scooters to be legally ridden on the roads of Bristol and Bath.
All other electric scooters, including the thousands bought as Christmas presents last week, are currently illegal to ride on the pavements, cycle paths or roads of Britain.
At the moment, the Voi scheme operates with an on-street hire process involving an app – people sign up and can unlock and ride a scooter around the city centre for anything up to a day at a time.
But there are restrictions on where the scooters can be ridden. When the scheme was launched in the autumn, riders were restricted to a geographic area immediately around the city centre – roughly from Temple Meads to Clifton and from Southville to Stokes Croft.
But since then, the area Voi e-scooters can be ridden in has expanded, to take in the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol Zoo in the north west, to Ashton Gate, Bedminster, Victoria Park and Totterdown in the south, Easton and Eastville in the east and Ashley Down and BIshopston in the north.
One big difference with the lease scheme, which is planned to go live in the New Year, is that it seems likely will be no restriction on areas that leased e-scooters can be ridden, given it is open to anyone in the West of England Combined Authority region.
Voi emailed all the people who have signed up to the app already, asking for an expression of interest in the lease scheme, which is set to cost £35 a month.
For that fee, people leasing an e-scooter will get their own to take home. The would be responsible for charging it each night, but Voi would be responsible for maintenance.
“With unlimited access to your own personal e-scooter, you get to enjoy the benefits of ownership, paired with unparalleled vehicle and customer support for just £35 a month,” Voi told customers.
“We’ll provide you with everything you need, and you’ll be responsible for storing and charging our scooter, like it’s your own.
“This service will only be available to our users who live in the West of England which includes Bristol and Bath. If you live outside of this area, you are not eligible for Long term rentals at this current time, but watch this space!” they added.
A spokesperson for Voi said the lease scheme is in its initial planning stages, and the email is designed to gauge the level of interest in the lease scheme.