E-scooters are now available to hire in Bath and Bristol as part of a trial led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
Over the next 12 months, residents and visitors will be able to hire an e-scooter for their commute to work or for travelling around the cities.
The new carbon-neutral e-scooters will also take pressure off public transport, helping people travel in a socially-distant manner, and reduce car travel.
The trial’s operator, Voi, will create more than 60 jobs in the region during the trial, which is being led by the Combined Authority in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils.
Initially, there will be 100 Voi scooters available in Bristol and 50 available to hire in Bath with more set to be introduced over time. E-scooters will be available to unlock for £1 and cost 20p per minute.
There are also a variety of subscriptions available, as well as discounted passes for students, key workers, and those on low-incomes. To ride a Voi e-scooter, a user must have a full or provisional driving licence and be at least 18 years of age.
WECA and Voi will continue to work closely with groups representing vulnerable road users – including the RNIB, Age UK and Disabilities Move UK to ensure the needs of vulnerable groups are carefully considered during the trial.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “With social distancing in place on public transport, our e-scooter trial is a chance for us to try a new, low carbon way to get our region moving, particularly up and down the big hills we have both Bristol and Bath.
“Alongside metrobus, our transformational MetroWest rail network and plans for a regional mass transit, we’re making it easier to get to the jobs and training opportunities that will secure our recovery.”
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said: “As the pandemic continues, people are looking for alternative ways to go about their journeys and Voi’s scooters are a safe, low-carbon alternative to public transport and car journeys.”
Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We are committed to reducing dependence on cars by encouraging the use of low-carbon, convenient ways to travel in our towns and city. Many short journeys which could often be made on foot or by bike are usually made by car, so the availability of other options will help people make small changes to the way they travel.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We made proposals to government more than two years ago to trial e-scooters in Bristol and we are delighted that this is now happening. We welcome the investment and jobs that Voi are bringing to the city and we are working closely with them to ensure e-scooters are used responsibly and safely.”