Zipp Mobility has been appointed by Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council to run a 12-month e-scooter trial scheme in Taunton.
The company, which was successfully awarded the contract following a competitive tender process that received submissions from a number of other international e-scooter operators, will be creating at least four local full-time jobs for the duration of the trial.
SWT Council has received approval from the DfT to operate the scheme, which is scheduled to commence in late October.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Somerset West and Taunton Council for this trial,” said Charlie Gleeson, CEO and Founder, Zipp Mobility. “At Zipp Mobility we place a strong emphasis on safety and quality of service and we are excited to bring this model to the district.”
The Zipp Mobility e-scooter features an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, 10in airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking, a wide base and a low centre of gravity. The scooters are also equipped with anti-viral handlebar wraps that kill 99.98% of coronaviruses to help eliminate COVID-19 transmission risk.
Councillor Peter Pilkington, executive member for climate, SWT Council, added: “SWT is in the process of approving a district-wide plan as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, and has already implemented several initiatives to help create a more sustainable future for everyone.
“I am delighted that we have been successful in our bid to be part of the trial scheme and to have secured Zipp Mobility as our operator. E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
In advance of the e-scooter trial scheme going live, SWT Council and Zipp Mobility will be holding a series of training and education days for members of the public. In addition to this, the council and Zipp will be engaging with local representatives and groups in order to ensure this trial is tailor-made for the area and has a positive impact on the community.
Will O’Brien, vice-president of growth and Government affairs, Zipp Mobility, said: “Somerset West and Taunton Council’s commitment to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 is among the most ambitious in the country. We are excited to work with such an environmentally-conscious local authority and help them on their journey to meeting this goal through the delivery of a world-class e-scooter trial.”
The hired vehicles can only be used within set geographical boundaries, so Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are being amended by SWT Council in order to be ready to start the trial. The DfT has stipulated that only e-scooters involved in the trials can be used in public areas – it remains illegal to use privately owned e-scooters in a public space.
SWT Council and Zipp Mobility are working with the Avon and Somerset Police (ASP) to help educate people about these laws.
Richard McKiernan, traffic management officer at ASP, said: “Whilst the trial offers a new and exciting way of moving around the area, we strongly recommend that users attend one of the training sessions before taking to the road. These sessions will help give an understanding of the rules of their use, as well as emphasising the importance of personal safety while on the road.
“I would urge anyone who owns an e-scooter to take note of the laws around their use. Remember, an e-scooter is a ‘vehicle’ and that any misuse can lead to penalty points being endorsed on your driving licence.”