Voi will launch services in Kettering and West Bromwich town centres this week.
Initially, there will be 50 scooters available to rent in Kettering from 4am to 11pm. In Sandwell, there will be 25 Voi scooters available to hire close to West Bromwich town centre with more set to be phased in overtime, with a maximum of 50 e-scooters available for hire. The e-scooters will be available in West Bromwich from 6am to 8pm.
E-scooters in both areas will cost £1 to unlock the scooter and then 20p per minute for usage. To ride a scooter, users need to be 18 years old and over, are required to download the Voi app, available for free on Apple App Store or Google Play, and will have to present a valid driving license.
Voi also offers 24-hour (at £10) and 30-day (at £40) subscriptions, allowing users to take an unlimited number of rides at a fixed rate. Voi also offers discounts for students, those on low income and NHS and emergency workers.
The e-scooters will be cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours. They are also fitted with copper tape that inactivates and minimises the transmission of COVID-19, and Voi is providing COVID-19 advice and information via the app and encourages its users to use hand sanitiser and wear gloves.
Voi e-scooter speeds will be capped at 10mph. The company has also been working with the relevant local authorities to create geofenced slow riding, no riding and mandatory parking areas, to ensure the safety of riders and other road users. Riders will also be encouraged to complete Voi’s digital e-scooter traffic school #RideLikeVoila, where they can learn how to ride a scooter safely.
The operator will continue to work closely with local authorities to guarantee a successful trial phase, including addressing the safety concerns and needs of other road users, especially vulnerable groups. Close planning and collaboration with the local police force will also go a long way to ensuring the safety and viability of the trial over the 12-month period.
“Following our successful launch in Northampton in September and Birmingham the same month, we are delighted to launch our shared e-scooter trial in two more towns, Kettering and West Bromwich,” said Richard Corbett, regional general manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi.
“These trials offer the local population a safe and carbon-neutral way to go about their lives, to commute or shop locally. As people adopt this new green way of travelling, there will be an increasing reduction in carbon dioxide and particulate emissions. By progressively transforming the way people move or commute, we can shape cities for the future, making them safer and more welcoming places to live and work.”
Jason Smithers, cabinet member for highways and place for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Northamptonshire is committed to improving access to greener, more sustainable, more affordable transport for the benefit of everyone, and the Voi e-scooter partnership has been a fantastic step in the right direction for achieving this.
“Since the launch of the e-scooters, 116,000 rides have taken place in Northampton, with nearly 70% of rides carried out by repeat customers – an indication that uptake has been very successful. We are therefore thrilled that this new carbon-neutral, socially distanced mode of travel can now be introduced in Kettering town.”
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “This launch follows hot on the heels of the extension of the e-scooter trial zone in Birmingham last week and will give even more people the opportunity to give them a go after they have proved to be so popular.
“E-scooters will offer more choice and a more environmentally friendly way for people to make those shorter journeys around West Bromwich town centre, and Transport for West Midlands is working with Voi and our local authorities to bring e-scooters to even more parts of the West Midlands over the coming weeks.”
Councillor Jackie Taylor, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for sustainable transport, said: “We are looking forward to working with Voi and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to bring the first e-scooters to West Bromwich town centre.
“This will be a temporary trial where residents can hire e-scooters to use around West Bromwich town centre. It is just one of the modes of sustainable transport the council are exploring to help reduce carbon emissions in Sandwell and offer a potential for fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can also help ease the burden on transport networks.”