The region’s electric scooters trial “has to be seen as a success” , transport chiefs have said
It comes just weeks after Voi Technologies, which is supplying the vehicles for the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) pilot scheme, was forced to change the e-scooter drop-off points in Clifton.
Pensioners, people representing the blind and parents with buggies have complained that the expansion of the trial is creating more problems with how they are left, with Voi telling users to leave them in designated “parking zones” which are often just wide pavements or at bus stops.
Stoke Park and Cheswick ward Lib Dem Cllr James Arrowsmith asked South Gloucestershire Council cabinet on Monday, April 12, how the issues would be resolved if the scooters were to become a permanent fixture.
He said: “Since the introduction of the scooters into the urban fringe of South Gloucestershire, I and a number of other councillors have had lots of residents getting in touch complaining about various problems with the scheme.”
Cllr Arrowsmith said these included a breakdown in communication from the local authority, Voi and Weca over the rules around private scooters and problems of the vehicles being “abandoned across pavements blocking access to wheelchair users, prams and a hazard to the visually impaired”.
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Conservative cabinet member for transport Cllr Steve Reade said the issues had been raised with Voi but stressed it was a trial.
He said: “With any trial it’s important that we capture all the vagaries of the trial – the good and the bad.
“One of the good ones is we’re rapidly heading towards a million kilometres of scooter ride distance.
“Put that in perspective with the amount of carbon and car journeys that has saved – that has to be seen as a point of success.
“But I recognise what you’re saying. There have been a number of issues and I’ve had regular meetings with officers, Voi and Weca where we raise these points.”
Cllr Reade said “relatively few” of the designated drop-off points appeared to be creating the hazards.
He said legislation would be required to make the pilot project permanent, so the results would feed into a national process.
“We should be looking at this scooter trial as part of the bigger picture of getting people out of their cars, onto alternative modes of transport, saving the vast amounts of carbon that it does save, but also recognising that there is an educational need out there in some quarters and that is what we’re working on,” Cllr Reade said.
“We had an instance recently where in another ward a resident raised an issue and we moved that location, we identified two more locations, so one was replaced with two drop-off points.
“That reduces the amount of scooters left. So it has to be a positive, it has to be a success and we’re all duty bound to endeavour to make it a success.”