The launch of 250 new e-scooters in Newcastle has been delayed.
A fleet of the electric vehicles was due to arrive in the city on Monday under a 12-month pilot scheme.
But the scheme has been pushed back 24 hours, with operator Neuron and Newcastle City Council blaming poor weather conditions.
Despite it being significantly warmer today than over the past week, the organisations said they wanted any “lingering snow and ice” to melt away before the orange scooters were made available for hire.
The e-scooters, which can travel up to 15mph, will be made free to use for the city’s NHS and emergency services staff during lockdown and will be free for all commuters between 5am and 9am for the first three months of the trial.
They will initially be available to use in a specific zone covering the city centre, Jesmond, and Gosforth and are legal on any road, bus lane, and cycle lane within that zone where the speed limit is 30mph or less.
In a joint statement, Neuron and the council said: “To give a bit of extra time for lingering snow and ice to thaw, e-scooters will now be available from tomorrow (February 16) in locations across the city, providing a safe, socially-distanced and environmentally-friendly transport option for key workers who have to travel.
“The first area we’re focusing on takes into account the potential for people to use them as an alternative to the Metro while essential works take place in the coming weeks.
“Safety is Neuron’s top priority and we are keen to ensure those using our e-scooters for the first time in Newcastle this week have a safe and enjoyable experience.”
Each scooter can talk to its rider through a voice guidance system that offers safety instructions and also comes equipped with a helmet.
The two-wheeled vehicles can also be controlled through geofencing technology – banning them from travelling outside the permitted zone or onto faster roads, and reducing their top speed through some areas.
They can be hired using the Neuron mobile app, but you must be 18 years old to ride them and must have a full or provisional driving licence.
Single trips will cost £1 to unlock the e-scooter and 18p per minute after that, paid via the app.
But regular users will be able to buy a three-day pass for £15, a weekly pass for £22, or monthly for £36 – which allow for up to 90 minutes per day of travel.