Birmingham e-scooter trial paused

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The e-scooter trial in Birmingham will be paused on Wednesday 1 March following the end of the current contract with Voi.

Transport for West Midlands launched an open tender for the new contract last summer and the procurement process is yet to conclude following bids from a number of interested providers. The means that there will inevitably be a break in the provision of a public rental e-scooter scheme.

As part of this contract process, TfWM and Birmingham City Council have taken the opportunity to look at fresh approaches, learn from current experience and continue to carefully consider the safety of the travelling public. A spokesperson said:

"It was hoped there would be a seamless transition to a new contract but owing to delays procuring the contract while awaiting clarity over national e-scooter legislation, that has not been possible. We know this will be hugely inconvenient for the many existing e-scooter rental customers - however, people are reminded it remains illegal to ride a private e-scooter on public roads and in public places.

"As an alternative for the time being people can use the West Midlands Cycle Hire, which includes e-bikes and is available across much of Birmingham and the wider region. It is the intention to see a public rental e-scooter scheme re-introduced as soon as possible."

E-scooter trials were launched by the Department for Transport in 2020 under which only rental e-scooters are allowed on the streets to test the technology and asses different approaches ahead of permanent legislation being introduced. The trials are taking place across UK towns and cities.

E-scooters offer a sustainable and affordable way to make shorter journeys for regular users and in Birmingham there were an average 30,000 rides a week taken, using a fleet of approximately 2,000 e-scooters. 

The e-scooter operation has provided significant transport and environmental benefits to the region with a minimum of 25% of the 2.2 million trips taken estimated to have used a scooter instead of a car – easing traffic congestion and reducing pollution.


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