Voi has been handed an exclusive contract to bring its e-scooters to the West Midlands.
Voi will work hand in hand with Transport for West Midlands to deliver e-scooters to 5.9 million residents across Birmingham, Coventry, Kenilworth, Sandwell (West Bromwich), Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Warwickshire. The trial will cover the largest market in Europe awarded by tender to a single operator.
Voi’s coral e-scooters will be on the streets of Coventry and Birmingham this month, arriving in other locations soon after. The West Midlands partnership follows on the heels of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Northamptonshire which have also chosen Voi to launch e-scooters and e-bike sharing schemes in their areas.
Voi now operates across ten UK authorities, having launched in the UK only in July. Its first e-scooters will be available for hire on the streets of Northamptonshire today.
As part of its service in the West Midlands, Voi will:
– Offer e-scooter rides at £1 to unlock, plus £0.20 per minute
– Create more than 120 FTE jobs
– Integrate fully with the local transport system; working alongside Network West Midlands, NetNav and Swift Mobile
– Offer Voi subscriptions for £10 a day/£40 a month alongside subsidised Voi-4-All Passes for low-income groups at £10 per month
– Support key workers with free rides and support local businesses to enable them to offer, or extend, delivery services
– Launch #RideLikeVoila, its online traffic school, for local riders, with incentives to encourage riders to take a course before they ride
– Provide safety pop-ups and helmets at special events, plus rider training
– Continue its rollout of Shieldex Copper-Tape to the handlebars of its e-scooters, which kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, and disinfect all e-scooters every day
– Provide tips on keeping COVID-19 safe through its app
Providing new ways to travel
Micromobility will help the West Midlands region get people back to work at a time when public transport has reduced capacity. It will also play a role in promoting active travel while cutting congestion, lowering pollution and improving air quality.
As e-scooters are introduced across the region, Voi will work closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority to make suggestions about additional infrastructure that will help communities get the best use out of this new mode of transport, based on user feedback and user journey data. Voi will also work closely with disability group associations such as RNIB and Disabilities Move UK to make sure that vulnerable groups are not disadvantaged.
Improving air quality and reducing congestion
With schools opening and normal activities begin slowly to resume, the need for quick, convenient and COVID-safe transport is urgent. City dwellers enjoyed quiet streets during lockdown and many do not want to see congestion and pollution levels increase again.
Before lockdown, air quality readings on Birmingham’s Middle Ring Road bordered on dangerous. At the end of March, a single site on this busy road hit excessive pollution levels for four days in a row. Since lockdown, this same site has seen pollution plummet, and at the start of July, it experienced its lowest recorded level for more than two years.
Outside of London, the West Midlands has historically had one of the worst congestion ratings in the UK. These factors have undoubtedly led to the region being listed as one of the top five in the UK that will benefit most from micromobility services, from shared bikes, to e-bikes and e-scooters according to research from transport analytics consultancy INRIX.
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said: “We are delighted to announce that we will soon be offering the Voi e-scooter service in the West Midlands – a region that has played a significant role in the history of transport, from cars to rail and aviation. Today’s transport innovations are all about helping people to get out of their cars and making greener choices.
“We are seeing the biggest change in a hundred years for the way people travel and Voi is here to help the West Midlands make the most of the opportunity. We can’t wait to get started.”
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, added: “The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and it is great to be able to partner with Voi and reveal our plans for e-scooters across the region.
“E-scooters will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the West Midlands, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home. E-scooters unquestionably offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly, alternative to the car for shorter journeys around our towns and cities, which will in turn help to ease traffic congestion and tackle air pollution.
“As well as the improvements to our transport network, e-scooters could also be a much-needed boost for the region’s economy, helping to attract people back into our town and city centres.
“It is a great coup for the West Midlands to be at the forefront of the Government’s e-scooter trial, and I look forward to continuing to work with Voi and local authorities to make sure we maximise the potential of e-scooters across the region.”