PLANS for an e-scooter trial in Winchester have been scrapped but residents could have access to electric bikes instead, it has been revealed.
County bosses have confirmed that an e-scooter trial expected to be rolled out in Winchester this spring will no longer go ahead.
But they are said to be looking into an e-bike hire-only scheme.
It comes as last year the Department for Transport (DfT) approved plans for a 12-month e-scooter trial in Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth from Spring 2021.
But Hampshire County Council has confirmed that the trial in Winchester will not go ahead.
Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader of the county council and executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “The timelines set by the Department for Transport to be part of the e-scooter pilot for Winchester were too tight for the proposed scheme to be properly implemented. Furthermore, the impact of the third COVID-19 lockdown has also meant that the need for the scheme to happen right now has changed and it is not the best time to run a pilot whilst travel is so disrupted. As a result, Hampshire County Council will not be engaging in a pilot e-scooter trial for Winchester at this time. We are investigating the business case for an e-bike hire only scheme. We will be assessing the cost and long-term viability through market testing and further engagement.”
Further details of the e-bike scheme are yet to be revealed.
But Cllr Martin Tod, cabinet member for service quality and transformation at Winchester City Council, said: “We definitively need to be encouraging sustainable transport and we need to make it easier for people to use low carbon ways to go around town but they need to be right for the city and as it stands e-bikes are right for the city.”
He added: “E-scooters are a lot harder because we have not got enough cycle lanes, our roads are quite narrow and it was very hard to see how we could have a meaningful trial that is going to be safe. E-bikes are an active project. We are very keen to see if we can find a way to make them work.”
The news comes as e-scooters have already been trialled on the Isle of Wight.
The scheme is still expected to go ahead in Southampton but details are yet to be revealed.
Meanwhile, last week civic chiefs in Portsmouth confirmed that a six-month trial will be rolled out across the city from mid-March.