CHESTER residents using the city’s pay-as-you-go electric scooters have clocked up more than 11,000 miles from over 3,700 journeys in the first few weeks of the 12-month trial.
Cheshire West and Chester Council has described the response to the scheme, which aims to encourage greener travel methods for shorter journeys, as “very encouraging”.
However, the authority also highlighted some misuse issues which included the e-scooters being used by children and a couple of cases where they were hired for non-essential purposes when Covid-19 restrictions are currently in place.
Since the trial started on December 21, the e-scooters have clocked up 11,226 miles from 3,776 journeys – the equivalent of nearly 13 trips from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
It is being run by e-scooter provider Ginger, in partnership with the council, to offer people aged over 18 and with a valid driving license the opportunity to hire one via a mobile phone app.
Councillor Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “This trial could offer cleaner, efficient and more affordable travel for local communities, supporting our wider transport initiatives.
“The e-scooters have proved to be most popular with residents from Garden Lane who have made 743 journeys, followed by White Friars 539 journeys and Green Lane 502 journeys.
“This is a very good start considering the weather and also the current restrictions due to Covid.”
Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency, Councillor Matt Bryan, added: “In less than a month the e-scooters have saved approximately 2,814 Kg of Carbon Dioxide had those journeys been done in a petrol or diesel car.
“The average journey times are for 36 minutes and the e-scooters have been travelling around Chester for 2,280 hours.”
Ginger has shared numerous examples of positive customer feedback with the council, one of which described the e-scooters as a “great addition” to the city.
However, the trial has not been without its issues, as councillor Bryan explains: “There were two reports of children riding with adults and one report of an adult passing the e-scooter to a child.
“The e-scooters aren’t toys, to hire and ride them requires a valid driving licence.
“There were also two reports of e-scooters being used for non-essential purposes, please remember we are under Covid restrictions at the moment and staying indoors except for very specific reasons.”
Andy Jones, Traffic Management Officer at Cheshire Constabulary, added: “E-scooters are classed in law as a motor vehicle and with that there is a greater level of responsibility and accompanying legislation.
“Offences committed on e-scooters or in relation to the misuse of them can result in prosecution with punishments including substantial fines and penalty points on driving licences. “
The trial is part of a Department for Transport initiative that was approved by the Government in 2020.
Cllr Bryan said: “E-scooters offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly alternative to using the car for shorter journeys and will also help tackle air pollution.
“We need to determine whether e-scooters are a viable part of a greener and healthier future for Chester, the early results are very encouraging.”