Despite concerns over safety expressed by pedestrians and motorists the Voi Liverpool e-scooter trial has seen 1.4m rides now taken and will be extended for another six months. Tony McDonough reports
A trial of e-scooters in Liverpool is to continue for another six months after the first 12 months saw 1.4m rides taken.
Liverpool City Council and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority began its partnership with leading e-scooter operator Voi in October 2020. It is claimed to have been one of the most popular and successful programmes in Europe.
Now the trial is to be extended until March 2022. It has been estimated the 1.4m rides so far have replaced 600,000 short car journeys and seen a reduction of 328 tonnes in carbon emissions.
Voi, which offers a 50% discount to the city’s university students, says 72% of riders claim they use e-scooters regularly. However, there have been concerns about their safety expressed by both motorists and pedestrians. In June a new set of measures were introduced to reduce the risk of accidents. They include:
- New painted parking bays added across Liverpool, with a plans for more than 400 over the coming months – and £25 fines will continue to be issued for illegal or dangerous parking.
- At weekends use of the e-scooters will be more controlled, with certain additional areas designated as ‘no riding zones’ and a full stop of the service after 9pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Stronger enforcement of Voi’s strike policy – users breaking rules of the road will be issued temporary (one week, one month) or permanent bans.
- A shift from the free-floating model, where users can park wherever they choose within reason, to one where they will be required to park in specific parking zones in most areas.
Jack Samler, general manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said: “We’ve helped thousands of people in the city make more environmentally-friendly choices by working closely with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and communities to embrace e-scooters as part of everyday life.
“We look forward to continuing our journey with Liverpool in creating healthier places to live.”
One Voi user in the city, IT worker Patrick Regan, added: “I like the freedom offered by the Voi scooters, it’s environmentally friendly and also an enjoyable method of getting about. It’s very accessible for small journeys with excellent availability.
“They are almost on every street corner in the centre of town. I live up a hill from town and often use Voi scooters to take the drudge out of the hill climb. I also find them excellent as a means to get across town if I’m running late for an appointment or meeting.”
Cllr Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment at Liverpool City Council, also said: “My focus remains ensuring the safety for riders, other road users and pedestrians in Liverpool.
“We will continue to work closely with Voi and partners at the Combined Authority to respond to any concerns and adapt the scheme if required.
“The principles of equality and inclusion, social value, and responding to the climate emergency is part of our triple-lock approach to all decision making, so improving access to sustainable and affordable travel for residents and visitors to Liverpool was key to us extending this trial.”