Voi extends e-scooter trial contracts into 2022 and proposes new classification for e-scooters

Voi has proposed a change in the law to give e-scooters their own vehicle classification.

The operator has licences to operate in 17 UK towns and cities, giving Voi 60% of the UK market share. Voi’s e-scooters and e-bikes are available in major cities across the UK including Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Northampton, Bath, Cambridge, Oxford, Portsmouth and Southampton.

Legislation to trial e-scooters on UK streets was introduced by the Government in May 2020. Pilots that were introduced by local authorities are now being extended until March 2022 so that councils can continue to collect meaningful data on how e-scooters are used and how they relieve pressure on public transport and congestion in urban areas.

Voi has now had extended pilots in Northampton, Birmingham, Cambridge and Peterborough and will continue to work closely with councils across the country to achieve other extensions.

Close to six million rides have now been taken on Voi e-scooters in the UK, the equivalent of more than 15 million kilometres. It is estimated that Voi e-scooter trials have helped reduce 1.2 tonnes of C02 emissions to date with an estimated 2.3 million car trips in the UK being replaced.

To continue the momentum achieved in the past 12 months, Voi has six recommendations for the future regulation of the e-scooter sector. These are:

– The Department of Transport should ensure e-scooter services remain available to the public. If trials were to stop, all the progress made would be lost with users most likely to return to using cars, or illegal, unregulated private e-scooters

– Primary legislation should create a new classification of vehicles to cover e-scooters, which recognises the differences between scooters and electric-assist pedal cycles. This would give operators the freedom to innovate whilst still ensuring safe operations

– Local authorities and operators should agree governance structure for the operation of shared scooter services to allow them to scale to meet growing demand, while ensuring local authorities have the authority to ensure a safe service

– Local authorities should prioritise the development of cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes to encourage safe micromobility journeys and discourage private cars for short journeys

– Councils and e-scooter operators should work together to find alternative parking solutions to pavement parking. As more urban space is freed up due to fewer cars on the roads, this should give rise to on-street scooter parking and parklets to minimise disruption to pedestrians

– The Department of Transport should ensure a level playing field between shared and private e-scooters in any future legislation. Legislation permitting the use of private e-scooters should include strict provisions around insurance and vehicle specifications such as maximum weight and speed

Jack Samler, general manager, Voi Technology UK, said: “Our first year of operating in the UK has been truly amazing. We have been wowed by the public’s enthusiasm for e-scooters across all the towns and cities where we have launched. We are also deeply impressed by the commitment and public service of the council leaders and officials who share our vision of reshaping cities to provide better places to live and work.

“Cities and towns across the UK have come alive again after months of lockdowns and gloom. We are delighted to have been able to bring this new form of transport to the UK to play a part in creating better urban environments and our part in the recovery. We hope that many other towns and cities across the UK will look at Voi’s trials and understand that shared e-scooter services, appropriately controlled through technology and regulation, are a brilliant solution to the challenges experienced in moving around cities.

“The pilots continue to be a great success with important lessons learned and we anticipate that many more people could soon try this new form of transport, if other cities join the Voi revolution.”

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