E-scooter trial expands to Westbury
BRISTOL’S e-scooter trial is being expanded this month to include large areas of the north west of the city.
The Voi scooters have become a familiar sight since they were introduced in October 2020 and have proved popular with many, although some concerns remain over parking and safety.
Until this month the electric scooters were not operating in Westbury-on-Trym, Shirehampton or Avonmouth or in the far south of Bristol, but a report to Bristol City Council’s cabinet in April said this was about to change.
An additional 500-900 scooters are being added to the pilot project, which will continue until at least the end of November this year.
The report revealed that more than 200,000 people had tried riding a rental e-scooter, racking up more than 3.4 million trips and travelling nearly 10 million kilometres.
"Significant progress has been made in tackling some of the issues encountered in the early stages of the trial such as overcrowding of parking locations and poor parking and rider behaviour, and these have reduced significantly as the scheme has become more established,” the report said.
Originally the trial, funded by the West of England Combined Authority, was due to last a year but it has twice been extended at the request of the Department for Transport. This is partly because the pandemic affected user numbers and partly because of safety concerns.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris has welcomed the extension of the pilot. “It is important that we get this right,” he said.
An effective trial would help the Government make informed decisions about how to legalise the form of transport and what rules should come with them, he said. At present, only Voi electric scooters in official trial areas are permitted.
Mr Norris has also expressed concerns over the Swedish operator Voi’s investors’ links to Russia.
In response, Voi says it has ceased all business activities in Russia and its ally Belarus, and is reevaluating all its partners in light of the war in Ukraine to take “all actions deemed necessary to comply with sanctions”, including removing shareholders who “no longer align with our core values”.