A Swedish e-scooter manufacturer is making its first foray into the UK by launching its first scooters into the UK.
Following the Department of Transport’s decision to fast track e-scooter trials in the UK earlier this year, Voi won an exclusive 12 month trial in West Midlands, which is kicking off in Coventry and Birmingham/
It follows a short e-scooter trial across Northamptonshire.
The trial will launch to the public in Birmingham and Coventry from Thursday September 10, ahead of roll-out across the region.
The tender process, which was started last month by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and resulted in the contract being offered to Voi as sole operator.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and it is great to be able to partner with Voi and reveal our plans for e-scooters across the region.”
“E-scooters will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the West Midlands, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home. E-scooters unquestionably offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly, alternative to the car for shorter journeys around our towns and cities, which will in turn help to ease traffic congestion and tackle air pollution.”
“As well as the improvements to our transport network, e-scooters could also be a much-needed boost for the region’s economy, helping to attract people back into our town and city centres.”
“It is a great coup for the West Midlands to be at the forefront of the Government’s e-scooter trial, and I look forward to continuing to work with Voi and local authorities to make sure we maximise the potential of e-scooters across the region.”
Up to 10,000 e-scooters are due to be deployed across the region over the course of the trial. Birmingham and Coventry will initially start with 200 each, with demand monitored by Voi – working closely with Local Authorities.
Riders will need a provisional or full driving licence to unlock an e-scooter. They will cost £1 to unlock and 20p per minute to ride, however there will be reduced rates for NHS workers, students and those on low incomes. Those who are looking to use the e-scooters regularly can have unlimited rides for £40 per month. Private e-scooters will not be permitted as part of the trial.
To make sure that e-scooters are introduced as safely as possible, Voi has gone over and above Government requirements on age limits, insurance and rider verification. Voi will provide in person and online rider education, provide rider identity verification and will make RideLikeVoila – its online traffic school – available to users in the West Midlands.
Lucy Yu, Voi’s Director of Public Policy, said: “In the UK, 60 per cent of car journeys are between one and three miles, which significantly increases congestion. Cars no longer suit the way we live today, and we estimate that 20 per cent of short journeys could be replaced by low-carbon e-scooters with a minimum five-year lifespan. E-scooters provide a compelling alternative that will outrun the car.”
The trial is due to run for 12 months. It will be closely reviewed by the Department of Transport and Transport for West Midlands working closely with local authorities and stakeholders, with a view to establishing longer-term options for e-scooters in the region.