I enjoyed visiting Voi, the company running Bristol’s e-scooter pilot, with Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol. Of the 18 Voi pilots across the country, Bristol has by far the best take-up with 6000-7000 trips each day, and there’s increasing evidence that a significant number of people are using them as an alternative to private car journeys. It’s also good to hear that Voi offer discounts for NHS and key workers, and those earning less than £15,000 a year.
The Bristol trial started with only 100 scooters; there are now 1200, plus 300 on long-term rental, which can now be used anywhere in the city. It would be up to Bristol City Council to approve any further increase on these numbers.
I was pleased to hear about the steps Voi is taking to address antisocial or dangerous use of their scooters. Anyone reported for riding an e-scooter improperly gets a strike, and after three strikes a user is banned. Voi has issued strikes to 800 people in the West of England but has only needed to ban fiver users so far.
It does look as if e-scooters are here to stay, but the Government will need to legislate if it wants to make the pilots permanent and if it wants to make the use of private e-scooters on our road legal too. But it’s dragging its feet on this, with the pilots being extended yet again, until 31st March 2022. I’d be interested to hear people’s views as to whether they would welcome this move.
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