The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is to become the first region in the country to roll out both e-Bikes and e-Scooters to the public, it says.
The authority has appointed European e-Scooter operator Voi to deliver the scheme on a 12-month trial basis to provide e-Bikes across the region and test out e-Scooters in the centre of Cambridge. Here, the e-Scooters will be closely assessed for safety and viability in the coming weeks, with the e-Bikes being rolled out imminently.
This announcement follows the Combined Authority’s recent declaration of £2.9 million to improve cycle and pedestrian facilities across the region to get more people walking and cycling.
E-scooter trials have been given the green light by the government over the next 12-months to assess the safety and viability aspects of introducing shared e-Scooter services on UK streets. Read CI.N’s in-depth series on e-Scooters covering speed and safety parameters, the impact of this new type of EV on the UK’s other forms of active travel, as well as a look at potential operational guidelines and local authority management powers.
The e-Bikes are likely to be placed at rail stations throughout the region as well as Park and Ride sites, with the potential for them to also be located at stops along the region’s guided busway.
The e-Scooters will be trialled initially in Cambridge on a small scale, with Voi presenting recommendations to the Combined Authority on any additional infrastructure requirements, based on user feedback and journey data, within three months.
“Electric bikes and scooters have the potential to revolutionise travel and I am delighted that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will be the first region in the country to make both available to the public so they can enjoy quicker, healthier journeys,” said Mayor James Palmer. “This year has seen a 27% drop in carbon emissions and a 200% increase in cycling, with people enjoying soaring air quality and fitter lifestyles, the benefits to moving away from cars and integrated active travel network for our region.”
As part of the trial, Voi will integrate with east coast rail operator LNER and lomob as the network provider’s preferred partner, as well integrating with the Cambridgeshire Cycling Campaign.
Safety pop-ups and helmets will be provided at launch events, and Voi’s #RidewithVoila online traffic school will teach riders how to safely operate the scooters. E-Scooter rides will cost £1 to unlock and 20p per minute to use, with Voi subscriptions on offer for £10 per day or £40 per month. Voi will also offer a subsidised Voi-4-All pass for low income groups at £10 per month.
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi, added: “We are delighted to announce that Cambridge, the world’s most renowned city for innovation and technology, will be the first city in the UK where people can use a Voi e-scooter and enjoy the benefits of its liberating new form of transport.
“People are keen to get out of their cars and want greener transport choices. Cities that are serious about cutting pollution and congestion see that this is a huge opportunity to introduce a mode of transport that can radically improve how we get around urban areas.”
In a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region, Voi will introduce Shieldex Copper-Tape on the scooters’ handlebars, which is designed to kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, the firm says, and all scooters will be disinfected every 24 hours.
The partnership between Voi and the Combined Authority is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 400 tonnes across the region by August 2021. In July, Richard Corbett, UK General Manager of Voi, appeared before the Transport Select Committee to answer questions on how e-Scooters will be trialled in the UK over the next year.