Key workers will be able to use rental e-scooters free-of-charge across South Gloucestershire and North Bristol as the rollout of the vehicles is expanded.
Owing to a successful trial launched across the West of England, ‘hop-on hop-off’ e-scooters will now be available in Horfield and Lockleaze, as well as Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford, and Filton.
E-scooters are free to use during lockdown for NHS workers, emergency service personnel, and the armed forces in order to provide a green and socially distanced alternative to commute into work.
They have already proved to be a popular transport method with over 100,000 rides being taken since their launch in October 2020, and the new expansion will see the number of scooters increase to 400 in Bristol and 200 in South Gloucestershire.
Residents in Bristol and Bath have collectively travelled over 240,000km using the e-scooters and the mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, says he is pleased with their uptake.
He said: “It is great that the initial e-scooter trial is being such a success, and that more people will now be able to use them in Bristol. I am pleased that the trial is expanding as well as providing free rides for many NHS and key workers.
We want everyone to have access to low-emission alternatives to short car journeys, especially while public transport capacity is reduced for social distancing, and we’ll continue to make sure even more areas and employment locations are included in future expansions as the trial continues.
“Alongside our improvements to bus, walking and cycling journeys across the city and plans for a mass transit public transport system we want a world class transport network which connects the whole city.”
The scooters, created by Swedish urban scooter firm Voi Technology, had recently been made available in Bishopston, St Werburghs, Easton, and Bedminster in Bristol, and Oldfield Park and Bathwick in Bath.
South Gloucestershire Council’s cabinet member for Regeneration, Environment, and Strategic Infrastructure, councillor Steve Reade, also commented on the success of the promoting green transport in the region.
He said: “We are really pleased and excited to see the West of England e-scooter trial launch in South Gloucestershire.
“During the pandemic we have seen many people adopt greener travel choices, especially for local journeys, and e-scooters will only continue to encourage this.
“E-scooters provide yet another low-carbon alternative for people who need to travel and support our Climate Emergency goals, as well as our ambitions to reduce congestion and emissions, improve air quality and keep South Gloucestershire moving.”
distance travelled on e-scooters in Bristol since October 2020
distance travelled on e-scooters in Bath since October 2020
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.
Riders must download the Voi app on Apple’s App Store or Google Play and can unlock an e-scooter for £0.99 and 14p per minute with discounted passes available for those on low-incomes and students.
Various measures have been taken to ensure the vehicles are compliant with Covid regulations including equipping handlebars with anti-bacterial tape and regular disinfection.
What are the rules for riding e-scooters legally:
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 as riders must be 18 years old or over and have a valid UK provisional driving licence (full or provisional).
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.