Bristol and Bath e-scooter trial area expands as free rides for NHS and key emergency workers reintroduced

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

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 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 158,000 kilometres travelled.

In Bristol, there have been over 50,000 rides taken by over 14,000 unique riders with over 127,000 kilometres travelled. In Bath, there have been over 12500 rides and 4800 unique riders with over 31,000 kilometres travelled. To service the new 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.”

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees added: “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.”

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.

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 and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils. The trial does not include private-owned e-scooters which remain illegal, except on private land.

“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,” said Richard Corbett, regional general manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi. “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.”

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