People in Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme are being encouraged to use hired electric scooters safely as town centre visits increase and the trial period for the vehicles reaches the six-month mark.
Staffordshire County Council and its transport partner Amey partnered with electric scooter providers Ginger and Zwings to launch micromobility trials in both towns as part of a national programme.
The SIMULATE Smart Places Live Lab programme is part of a pilot scheme run by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT).
Since the trial started in September 2020 with bays deployed in both Stafford and Newcastle, there have been over 18,732rides taken covering a total distance of 93,676km - that’s twice around the circumference of the earth. These rides taken, when compared with car journeys, has saved an estimated 13,066kg of C02.
The length of ride varies, with the average distance per ride being 4.9km –the longest journey taken so far however has been 38km.
Staffordshire County Council’s assistant director for connectivity and sustainability Clive Thomson said:
The SIMULATE e-scooter trial in Stafford and Newcastle has been a real success and been popular with residents in offering an alternative and environmentally friendly travel option. In addition to providing more locations for picking up and parking e-scooters across communities in both towns as the trial has progressed, we’ve partnered with the NHS at Stafford’s County Hospital and Keele University to ensure key sites are connected.
We’d like to remind people that only e-scooters hired from Ginger and Zwings are legal on roads and cycleways and in their use is restricted to those pilot areas. People should be riding scooters safely as they would any other motorised vehicle and risk penalties if they don’t. At the end of the trial period we will feedback all information including challenges we have faced to the Department for Transport.”
The success of the trial during the first trial months, saw SIMULATE partner with the NHS Hospital in Stafford, with 61 percent of all rides taken travelling from point-to-point which indicates a significant amount of modal shift taking place.
Now, as the country starts to come out of lockdown, those living and working in Stafford and Newcastle are being encouraged to try e-scooters as an alternative mode of transport to navigate the towns. The SIMULATE team are also deploying e-scooters into more rural locations in Staffordshire to further understand the feasibility and impact of micromobility in rural settings.
Live Labs Programme Director, Giles Perkins said:
Shared e-scooters programmes are a key part of the emerging decarbonised mobility agenda and we are excited to see results such as these coming from the Staffordshire trials. New and future mobility solutions aren’t just for the major cities and through Labs we are demonstrating where new technologies and services could bring benefits to communities of all scales.”
Amy Liebig-Phillpotts, Head of Business Improvement for Transport Infrastructure at Amey, said:
Now we are over six months into the trial of e-scooters in Staffordshire we’re seeing some interesting statistics that are helping the teams to understand the feasibility and longevity of micromobility as a new form of shared transport.
The results are already showing the potential for positive impacts on air quality and the environment by reducing the use of cars and buses in these populated areas. We’re hoping that now lockdown is easing that more people with e-scoot to work or for leisure purposes.”
There are over 150 e-scooters in Staffordshire operated by Ginger and Zwings. User reminders for those looking to hire an e-scooter include:
• E-scooters should be treated as motor vehicles and misuse could result in points on a license. E-scooters should not be used by anyone other than the account holder, who must hold at least a provisional licence. (Those hiring e-scooters with Ginger need to be aged 18 and have a provisional, full drivers or motorcycle licence. Those hiring e-scooters with Zwings can do so from the age of 16 but will also need to have in their possession a provisional, full drivers or motorcycle licence.)
• Anyone found to be under the influence of alcohol while operating a scooter will also be held accountable as would any motor vehicle user.
• E-scooters should use only the road and designated cycle lanes and not to ride on the pavement.
• It’s strongly encourages to wear a helmet while using an e-scooter.
• Privately owned e-scooters are still illegal for use on the public highways.
The trial, which is part of a £22.9m Department for Transport-funded programme, continues in Staffordshire until September 2021.