A new electric scooter (e-scooter) hire scheme for Oxford is to be launched with Voi, and residents in the Headington area of Oxford will soon be able to rent an e-scooter as part of a trial to allow residents to both travel in a socially distanced manner and cut carbon emissions.
The launch is part of a 12-month trial led by Oxfordshire County Council and Swedish e-scooter operator Voi Technology. This follows the government decision to legalise rental e-scooters earlier this year, to support a green restart of local travel.
E-scooters offer a socially distanced, outdoor mode of transport, particularly important while the current lockdown measures remain in place. They also provide a convenient and accessible way of transport for point-to-point- journeys or the first and last mile of public transport, reducing the need for short car journeys, and improving air quality. The e-scooters will also contribute towards the reduction in congestion and carbon emissions.
The plans come as part of the government’s active travel grant announced in 2020.
The trial will begin with an area of Headington but will gradually expand to include wider areas of the city as demand increases. Rental scooters will be allowed to use on roads and cycle lanes within the trial area but will be banned on pavements.
Under current regulations, rented e-scooter users must be over 18 and hold a provisional or full driving licence. Users are strongly encouraged to wear helmets and scooter speeds will be restricted to 10 mph. Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use in public spaces and roads.
Voi will collaborate with Oxfordshire County Council to support rider education encouraging riders to take Voi’s accredited e-scooter traffic school, RideLikeVoila, which has trained over half a million users to date.
Voi is also committed to upholding the council’s health and safety policy by providing riders with safety and COVID-19 information and advice through its app and other educational campaigns.
Oxfordshire County Council is working with Voi to look at how e-scooters can form part of the evolving mobility ecosystem for Oxfordshire. There is also scope to expand the trial to other towns across the county if there is demand.
Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment, Oxfordshire County Council, said: "Our electric scooter trials in Oxford with Voi have brought us an exciting opportunity to explore alternative and green transport options for our communities. As a county council, we have set out our continued commitment to addressing climate change and transport innovation is a key part of that."
Richard Corbett, Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said: "We are delighted to be working with Oxfordshire County Council to bring our shared e-scooter scheme to the region. Voi e-scooters play an essential role in getting people, particularly key workers, to move around safely during the pandemic.
"As we move on, micro-mobility will continue to play a strategic part in the green recovery of our cities and towns, offering a flexible and low carbon way to travel. E-scooters can easily be integrated with public transport, replacing short car journeys, ultimately creating better cities for living, free of pollution and congestion."
The trial is due to begin in February, after a licence to operate is granted to the council by the Department for Transport.