Sunderland set to become third area in the North East to take part in national e-scooter trial Leave a comment

Electric scooters could be soon be charging up for use in Sunderland as part of a national trial.

Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday is set to give the green light to a scheme that could begin in March and run until November.

The e-scooters would be limited to a top speed of 12.5 mph, offer the potential for cleaner, inexpensive travel and for more social distancing during the Covid pandemic, and could be rented by the hour or for longer periods.

The trial in the city is designed to assist with Department for Transport research and future decisions on legalising their use.

Leader of Sunderland City Council councillor Graeme Miller backed the plans for the e-scooter rollout later this year.

He said: “Trials have been approved in other towns and cities and scooters have the potential for another convenient, clean and cost-effective transport choice.

“Our trial is about providing capacity and support journeys and two possible key employment and education routes such as from the city centre to the Royal Hospital and University of Sunderland sites.

“E-scooters could also be used by visitors and tourists for leisure type journeys along the seafront by linking with the city centre and some of our Metro stations.

“They could help support first and last mile journeys, especially on routes that have capacity limited public transport.”

Subject to the cabinet decision, which has been recommended for approval, e-scooters would be GPS tracked and have a Geofence system to ensure they are only used on designated routes.

Riders would have a User App to confirm they have either a full provisional driving or motorcycle licence.

The council and any operator would also encourage helmet use. There are no financial costs to the council for taking part in the scheme.

Cllr Miller added: “E-scooters offer the potential for fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can help ease the burden on transport networks and they allow for social distancing.

“Sunderland has set down its credentials and plans to become a carbon-neutral city and if E-scooters can play a part in this then it’s very important that we find out more.”

Neuron Mobility was chosen by Newcastle City Council to deploy the environmentally-friendly fleet of two-wheeled vehicles in the city this year, in a bid to get more people out of their cars and cut pollution caused by road traffic.

The two-wheeled vehicles were also introduced in Middlesbrough last July.

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