No-one can deny that shared e-scooters schemes are capable of playing a vital part in a city’s transport network. We see it in Bristol, for instance, where Voi e-scooters are available across most of the city - 60 square miles in total - and are a popular choice for people choosing to leave their car behind and beat congestion by taking a Voi.
We’ve worked hard at making the West of England e-scooter trial the success it is - and we couldn’t have done it without the strong will to make it work from the West of England Combined Authority and the other unitary authorities in the area. As well as the fleet of nearly 4,000 scooters, we’ve invested in staff, a warehouse and equipment to keep our Bristol and Bath operation running as smoothly as possible.
The West of England shared e-scooter trial is unique across Europe as the only exclusive e-scooter service of its size to use a “mandatory parking model” where users can only start and end their rides in designated geo-fenced areas.
But for e-scooters to continue to provide a successful zero-carbon offering in the country’s transport mix we need certainty. The Government must bring forth the legislation that ministers repeatedly promise to legalise light electric vehicles, while ensuring there is a level playing field between shared and private vehicles.
There also needs to be accelerated investment in the infrastructure necessary to make e-scooters - and all forms of micromobility - a viable transport alternative for people - more cycle paths and better maintained roads so that e-scooter riders aren’t dodging potholes. For riders and pedestrians to feel safe, we need more cycle paths, faster.
We as an industry must keep the momentum going on both of these issues.