WECA E-scooter Trial
The WECA E-scooter trial is one of number of E-scooter trials currently being delivered is a Department for Transport trial to understand the E-scooter usage. The benefit of a trial is that it can help the Department for Transport and Local Authorities to understand usage, user behaviour, impacts of road surfaces and any mitigations if the use of this vehicle is to increase. In addition the delivery of a trial means that the usage can be regulated in that it is controlled with specific areas of use and also if incorrect rider behaviour is detected such as twin-riding, underage riding or anti-social activity then the user can be banned.
E-scooters offer the potential for fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can also help ease the burden on transport networks and allow for social distancing. The use of E-scooters enables residents to replace short car journeys with a lower environmental footprint, with huge potential to improve air quality and reduce climate change. It also provides a socially distanced, outdoor mode of transport which is convenient, affordable and flexible travel for point-to-point journeys, or for the first or last mile to public transport.
The trial is currently taking place until late October 2021.
There are currently two models to the WECA E-scooter trial operated by Voi:
Hop on, Hop off
The Hop on, Hop off model is where residents can use the trial E-scooters for short journeys and collect the vehicles from various points within the authority trial area. These locations are indicated within the operator Voi's app and scooters will be available at parking locations which have been arranged in collaboration with South Gloucestershire Council and include in residential areas, employment areas, near to shops such as located at cycle stands and transport interchanges such as at Metrobus stops.
It costs £0.99 to unlock the scooter and then £0.14 per minute of usage. Voi also offers 24-hour (at £5), one-week (at £10) and 30-day (at £35) subscriptions that allows users to take an unlimited number of rides at a fixed rate. The subscriptions can be purchased in the app. There are also special rates for students, NHS and emergency services personnel, and those on low incomes. There is more information about these special rates and how to apply at https://www.voiscooters.com.
- Initial South Gloucestershire expansion – Wednesday 10th February – Filton, Patchway, Stoke Gifford & Bradley Stoke
- Further expansion – Wednesday 24th March – Frenchay, Downend, Staple Hill, Mangotsfield, Bromley Heath, Emersons Green, Kingswood and Hanham.
Long Term Rental
Long-term rentals offer users a practical, flexible and cost-effective alternative for riders who want to use the scooter daily as their main mode of transport. With Long Term Rental, users will be able to use the scooters across the WECA region, and not only in the cities, of Bath and Bristol. Residents can register on the below website to receive a Long Term Rental trial E-scooter and this will be delivered to their residence and will be available for a month or longer period. The rental costs £35 per month with costs reducing for a longer period of hire.
At present it is not possible for the either model of the trial E-scooters to be used on the Bristol – Bath cycle path. This is because ownership of the cycle path rests with different organisations. If a private land owner has not granted permission to use the land for the trials, then the area is excluded.
The following rules and safety measures apply for the E-scooter trials:
- Only E-scooters that are hired or leased through the West of England's trial can be used legally on roads, cycle lanes or cycle tracks.
- E-scooters cannot be used on pavements or parked in a way that disrupts pedestrians or causes nuisance.
- Users must be aged 18 or over and accounts should not be provided to those under the age of 18.
- Using GPS technology, there will be no-ride zones and slow-speed zones for some areas.
- Users are not required to wear helmets although this is advised, encouraged and incentivised by the operator
- As required by UK legislation, Voi users have motor third-party insurance. Voi has also decided to go beyond the Department of Transport's requirements and has included personal accident coverage insurance for all e-scooter trips.
- All e-scooters will have clear number plates to help identify riders.
- Driving licence and identity checks will be required.
- Voi ambassadors will be present on the streets to enforce safe behaviour.
- Ambassadors will work with Avon and Somerset Police to restrict or ban non-compliant users.
- Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use on roads, pavements, parks and any other areas. The only place that privately owned e-scooters can legally be used is on private land with the permission of the landowner.
- Project website E-scooter trial - Travelwest
- South Gloucestershire Council - E-scooters trial | BETA - South Gloucestershire Council (southglos.gov.uk)
- Department for Transport E-scooter trials – E-scooter trials: guidance for local areas and rental operators - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Voi app – available to download from all app stores.
- Voi Long Term Rentals - West of England E-Scooter Personal Lease | Long Term Rental | Voi UK (voiscooters.com)
If you experience any impact by the trial such as vehicles parked inappropriately please contact the operator Voi and also the WECA E-scooter team. If you are able to provide as much information as possible such as location, time and any images then this helps the authorities and the operator undertake mitigation such as improvements to parking locations.
In addition to the above webpages, the operator Voi have now created a specific page for residents and users to report issues. You are encouraged to use this method to report.
Notes from the stakeholders meeting hosted by Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) involving West of England Combined Authority (WECA), South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), Voi and Avon & Somerset Constabulary regarding the Voi e-scooters pilot project – 25th May 2021