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WECA E-scooter Trial

Introduction

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.

Website information

Issues reporting:

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.

Stakeholders Meetings

Notes from the stakeholders meetings 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.




WECA E-scooter trial - parking infrastructure implementation - August 2021

I'm contacting you to make you aware that as part of the WECA E-scooter trial the operator will soon be implementing some E-scooter parking infrastructure within the initial South Gloucestershire expansion area of Filton, Patchway, Bradley Stoke & Stoke Gifford. This will be 17 painted parking bays which will fit a number of E-scooters and also 7 E-scooter parking racks across the whole of South Gloucestershire.

The location of the proposed painted parking bays in Bradley Stoke are:

Brook Way – adjacent to the entrance to the Three Brooks Nature Reserve (Grid Reference: 362067, 181199)
Brook Way – junction with Hawkins Crescent (Grid Reference: 361907, 181542)
Bradley Stoke Way – adjacent to Willow Brook Centre (Grid Reference: 362144, 182028)
Bradley Stoke Way – adjacent to Leisure Centre (Grid Reference: 362144, 182028)
Bradley Stoke Way – adjacent to Metrobus stop near Baileys Court Road (Grid Reference: 363006, 180911)
Bradley Stoke Way – adjacent to Metrobus stop near Baileys Court Road (Grid reference: 363148, 180782)

The parking infrastructure is being installed as a mitigation to reduce E-scooter clutter where users may end their ride and leave the E-scooter vehicles untidily potentially creating an obstruction for other pedestrians and cyclists along with accessibility features such as dropped kerbs and tactile paving. The parking racks and painted bays will clarify parking locations for both users and non-users.

The locations where infrastructure is being installed has been reviewed by the council's Assess & Decide team with feedback and some alterations provided to the operator. The locations were chosen based on the top fifteen utilised parking areas along with suggestions by myself. The operator has had a Section 50 licence approved by South Gloucestershire Council to enable there contractors to implement the infrastructure on pavements/shared use paths and all parking bays and E-scooter parking racks will be removed by the operator's contractor at the end of the trial.

Signage will be installed along the E-scooter parking infrastructure so that it is clear that the asset has been installed as part of the WECA E-scooter trial and will also include contact details for the operator Voi. WECA will also update the Travelwest website with information on the E-scooter parking.

WECA, South Gloucestershire Council and Voi will monitor the usage of these parking locations following the installation of the parking infrastructure to understand the impact on user behaviour and E-scooter clutter. This will potentially lead to further installations of parking infrastructure within the existing E-scooter trial area within the authority for the remainder of the trials duration.

In addition to the E-scooter parking infrastructure Voi have also implemented a number of other mitigations both to affect E-scooter parking and user behaviour.
Voi is implementing a Mandatory Parking Cap (MPZ) which means a maximum of 10 trial E-scooter can park t locations which have had overcrowding. This was rolled out to over 100 locations in July and will be 200 by the end of August although largely in Bristol. All new Its positive as means some locations don't become too full but creates the need for additional E-scooter parking locations nearby to spread the total vehicles but this can be difficult in residential areas. Voi will soon be making this a variable capacity so that we can stipulate some locations to have a lower or greater maximum capacity.

Since April all users have had to take a photo of the location that they've completed their ride and submit it within the Voi app. This is then reviewed and users can receive warnings and fines for bad parking and this is hoped that it improves parking behaviour.

WECA E-scooter trial update

Overall the E-scooter trial has been going really well with very strong usage in the Bristol/South Gloucestershire trial area. It's really pleasing to see that usage is remaining very high at around 65,000 trips per week for a variety of purposes and saving car journeys in many instances. The mode is still gaining 13% new riders each week and is one of the most successful in Europe. The trial fleet will soon reach its target of over 3,000 vehicles for the whole Bristol & South Gloucestershire short term rental trial area. For usage until the end of April the demographic split was 61% Male and 39% Female which exceeds the industry average of 25% usage for Females. Typically the majority of users are between 18 – 35. The mode also provided a significant benefit to NHS and emergency workers during the pandemic with over 3,000 employees registering to and undertaking over 60,000 journeys during the period of the national lockdown when the operator provided monthly passes for free. This has now reduced to 75% discount for emergency services and NHS employees and its hoped that staff continue to use the mode.

Further information on the WECA E-scooter trial can be found on the Travlwest website - E-scooter trial - Travelwest

Please do get in touch if you have any queries relating to the WECA E-scooter trial.

Many thanks

Tom Lacey
Senior Project Manager, Strategic Infrastructure Services.