West of England e-scooter trial area expands

Southmead, Brislington, Emersons Green and Weston, Bath, are among the new areas where residents are now able to use rental e-scooters to access essential work and services.

Following the successful launch of the West of England e-scooter trial, the trial area for the ‘hop-on hop-off’ e-scooters has expanded to include new areas including the Royal United Hospital in Bath and Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

New areas in the trial include Southmead, Emersons Green, Downend, Mangotsfield, Staple Hill, Kingswood, Hanham, Brislington, Knowle, Hillfields, St George, Bishopsworth, Upper Weston and Lower Weston.

While the lockdown is in place, e-scooter operator Voi Technology is offering free rides to NHS workers, emergency service personnel and the armed forces. Almost 1,600 riders have used the Voi 4 Heroes scheme – making a total of more than 21,500 rides.

Since the launch of the West of England e-scooter trial in October 2020, there have been over 225,000 rides taken and almost 615,000 miles travelled.

Richard Corbett, regional general manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said: “E-scooters offer a flexible, accessible, outdoors and socially-distanced mode of transport, particularly useful for short journeys from 1-3 miles. We have seen thousands of residents in the region using them for their essential journeys. As we expand into new areas, we will continue to work closely with the West of England Combined Authority to ensure the safety and success of the trial.”

E-scooters are available to unlock for £0.99 and cost 14p per minute. There are also various discounts available and passes for students, key workers, and those on low-incomes.

To unlock an e-scooter, riders can download the Voi app, (available for free on iOS and Android), they must be 18 years old or over and have a valid UK driving licence (full or provisional). Safety measures to protect riders against Covid-19 include equipping all handlebars with anti-bacterial copper tape and ensuring the vehicles are regularly disinfected. Users are also encouraged to where cycle helmets.

The West of England Combined Authority has also recently introduced long-term e-scooter rentals that can be stored at home and used by residents across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

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