As the lockdown is eased, more parts of Somerset are trialling electric scooters as part of a congestion-busting Government trial.
A scheme, which is already operating in Taunton and Yeovil, is starting in Chard and Crewkerne – which officials will start promoting more widely once travel restrictions are lifted.
The e-scooters will be available for rental via the Zwings app from designated e-scooter parking bays located across both towns.
Sixty per cent of car trips are between one and three miles, the majority of which are made by the driver alone.
Following the declaration of a local climate and ecological emergency, South Somerset District Council and Zwings are delivering a 12-month trial service in Yeovil, Chard and Crewkerne from October 2020 – designed to reduce unnecessary car usage, thereby lowering carbon emissions, toxic air pollution and easing congestion.
Zwings says it ‘intends to provide a sustainable, convenient and covid-safe-socially-distant mode of travel to the community and visitors alike’.
While the trial is underway, privately owned e-scooters are still illegal on public roads. These trials feed back to the DfT on how they are being used in communities so they can decide after the trials whether e-scooters will be made a legal form of private transport.
The council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment Councillor Sarah Dyke, said: “We are very excited to launch the successful Department for Transport e-scooter trial in Crewkerne and Chard.
“The already successful Yeovil e-scooter trial scheme is testament that there is a need for alternative sustainable transport choices to replace short about town solo car journeys.
“It goes without saying that less cars are beneficial for everyone, helping reduce congestion, parking and pollution, and with e-scooting there is the added bonus of being in the fresh open air, which is great for wellbeing.
“We have worked closely with Crewkerne and Chard Councillors and key stakeholders, whose valuable input, local knowledge and positive approach has helped to bring the scheme to fruition with micro-mobility operators Zwings, to safely deliver this innovative, sustainable transport choice to residents, visitors and employees of Chard and Crewkerne and we hope they embrace the scheme and all the benefits it will bring.”
Joe Lewin, Zwings CEO, commented: “We recognise that both Chard and Crewkerne are key towns in South Somerset, and our local and head office teams are thrilled to be introducing e-scooters into both locations as phase 2 to the successful trial hire scheme in Yeovil.
“The Zwings team has enjoyed forming a partnership with South Somerset District Council and local stakeholders through this trial to help the community transition towards decarbonised car alternatives that allow for social distancing, and to reimagine the way they travel from A to B.
“We recognise that the first few months of our launch will be crucial to gain an understanding of the community’s response, and will continually seek to improve the trial experience in order to best suit localised needs, including those of vulnerable groups and the police, with whom we are working closely with.”
Riding on a Zwings e-scooter will cost £1 to unlock and 15p per minute. Local Zwings teams undertake maintenance, recharge the batteries using a renewable energy tariff, sanitise the e-scooters regularly and deploy the fleet across the towns with an electric van.
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