NHS workers in Stafford are being offered free electric scooter rides as a trial scheme is rolled-out to the town’s County Hospital as a mark of gratitude to them for their ongoing invaluable work.
The county council’s e-scooter trial in Stafford has been expanded to the site after partnering with University of Hospitals North Midlands Trust (UHNM).
Staffordshire’s e-scooter trial launched in September 2020 and is part of the £22.9m ADEPT Smart Place Live Labs programme funded by the Department of Transport. The Staffordshire Live Lab, run by the county council and its transport partner Amey, is designed to test new innovations that can radically improve mobility and air quality across the county. In Stafford the e-scooter trial is being operated by Ginger.
UHNM is the first NHS provider in the country to be part of an e-scooter trial. As one of the largest employers in the area UHMM is responsible for a large proportion of traffic and congestion each day – approximately 3.5% (9.5 billion miles) of all road travel in England relates to patient, visitors, staff and suppliers to the NHS. This equates to 14% of the systems total emissions.
By trialling the use of e-scooters the trust is providing its staff, visitors and patients not only a socially distanced travel option but also a means to reduce carbon emissions through offering alternatives to car travel for those shorter journeys.
Jessica Brownsword, Sustainability Manager at UHNM, said: “UHNM is extremely pleased to be working in partnership with Staffordshire County Council during this trial of electric scooters. By participating, UHNM will demonstrate leadership in sustainable travel as we will be the first hospital to have a parking bay on site. This makes it easier for visitors to choose a healthier journey and encouraging staff to choose greener and more active travel options.
“Being a part of this innovative trial goes a long way towards achieving our travel plan objectives and improving local air quality, a key focus for all Staffordshire authorities, through reducing our contribution to carbon emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles coming to site.”
Ginger worked with UHNM to understand its transport needs and the locations that would be best suited to house the e-scooter infrastructure. It will be providing free rides for NHS workers until the end of March 2021 at the earliest.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: “Our electric scooter trials in Stafford has been a great success since its launch last September, offering a safe alternative and green transport option for people.
“It has gradually been rolled-out to different parts of town and we’re pleased to see new bays installed at County Hospital with support from the NHS Trust. The operator Ginger is offering free scooter rides to NHS employees as a mark of gratitude for the tremendous work they have been doing for us. This is obviously a busy site with many people traveling to it and so this was a logical step.
“We hope that as our economy begins to open up again more people will try out the scooters as they move around town. This is an important project for the county council as we are exploring innovative clean air transport solutions as we aim to fulfil our commitment to combatting climate change.”
Paul Hodgins, CEO at Ginger, said: “We are proud to be working with UHNM, Staffordshire County Council, and Amey to bring this exciting new form of transport to staff at County Hospital in another first. E-scooters are one form of a new generation of small, low speed electric vehicles that are bringing cleaner, cheaper, more efficient local transport to the UK's villages, towns, and cities. Working with this group of partners, it is thrilling to help Staffordshire pioneer better transport in the country's drive towards Net Zero."
Giles Perkins, ADEPT Live Labs Programme Director said: “Staffordshire’s Live Lab is rising to the unique challenges that all our transport systems face at the moment. Coupling e-scooters with the needs of the NHS workers the Live Lab is demonstrating the agility that new mobility solutions can bring to our towns and cities, in this case crucially helping key workers provide our essential front-line services.”
The public trial in Staffordshire form part of the Department for Transport trials that were approved by the Government in July 2020. Working in collaboration with the county council, Amey, Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Councils as well as with Ginger and Zwings, over 150 e-scooters have now been brought to the streets of Staffordshire.
Staffordshire is a unique location to trial e-scooters due to its rural location and size of its local towns – far smaller than city locations that have e-scooters available. Ginger manage the e-scooters in Stafford, with Zwings responsible for the trial at Newcastle-under-Lyme. The e-scooter trial runs for 12 months until September 2021.