West of England e-scooter trial expands as free rides for NHS and key emergency workers are reintroduced

published on 18th January 2021 BANES, Bristol, Infrastructure
Photo of man and women using e-scooter

Following the successful launch of the West of England Combined Authority’s e-scooter trial in October, the operating area for e-scooters has been expanded in Bristol and Bath.

The expansion will allow people to reach new destinations by e-scooter including Bishopston, St Werburghs, Easton and Bedminster in Bristol and Oldfield Park and Bathwick in Bath.

It comes as e-scooter operator Voi announced that the Voi-4-Heroes programme is to be reintroduced during the new lockdown period. 

The scheme gives free rides to NHS workers, emergency service personnel and the armed forces offering an alternative way to access essential work.

The 12-month trial, operated by leading e-scooter operator Voi, introduced 100 rental e-scooters in central Bristol and 50 scooters in central Bath. 

Since launch there have been over 62,000 rides taken and over 158,000km travelled.

  • In Bristol there have been over 50,000 rides taken by over 14,000 unique riders with over 127,000 km travelled.
  • In Bath there have been over 12500 rides and 4800 unique riders with over 31,000 km travelled.

To service the newly expanded areas, the numbers of scooters will gradually increase to 450 in Bristol and 100 in Bath.

Mayor of the West of England Tim Bowles said: 

The West of England has really embraced our e-scooter trial and I’m pleased that so many people have taken the chance to try this new, low carbon form of transport that’s helping to keep our region moving.

We’ve taken an incremental approach to the launch so that we can all get used to the scooters on our roads, and now following this early success we can expand our operating area so that more residents in Bristol and Bath can benefit from another alternative to the car for short journeys to access essential work and services.

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.

Tim Bowles Mayor of the West of England

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

E-scooters are a great way to travel and I’m delighted to see so many people trying out a new form of sustainable transport in the region.

It’s essential we provide people with as many low-emission alternatives to the car as possible to help deliver clean air and climate resilience. This trial is providing another low-emission option alongside our improvements to bus, walking and cycling journeys across the city and plans for a mass transit public transport system.

Marvin Rees Mayor of Bristol

Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said:

The e-scooters have been well-received in Bath so far and are proving to be a convenient way for people to make short, sustainable journeys. It’s great news that the scheme is now rolling out into Bathwick and into Oldfield Park, which is a key first step in linking up with the rail station and residential areas bordering the city centre.

Councillor Dine Romero Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

There are plans to further extend the operating area to South Gloucestershire and introduce a personal lease scheme to enable residents to hire a scooter for a longer period of time and keep it at their home or place of work.

E-scooters are available to unlock for £0.99 and cost 14p 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 unlock an e-scooter, riders can download the Voi app, (available on iOS and Android) 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.

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. The trial does not include private owned e-scooters which remain illegal except on private land.

Richard Corbett, Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said:

The trial has been really well received and we are delighted to be expanding our operational area to meet the growing demand for this socially distanced mode of transport. As more residents, particularly key workers, use our e-scooters to go about their daily lives, the number of short car journeys will be reduced, leading to cuts in carbon emissions and congestion and ultimately creating better cities for living.

Richard Corbett Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi

The trial forms part of the West of England’s £28m plans for a Future Transport Zone in the region that will improve access to public transport for local communities through trialling innovative new transport technologies.

To view the expanded boundary, visit the Voi app. Download here: https://www.voiscooters.com/

For more information visit the Travelwest page:
Travelwest e-scooter page