New West Midlands e-scooter hire scheme is launched

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A brand new e-scooter hire scheme, run by transport company 'Beryl' launches today on the streets of Birmingham.

The first phase of the scheme will see 200 e-scooters made available to hire in the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods with a further 700 to be rolled out in a phased manner by the end of September 2023.

Beryl was appointed by Transport for West Midlands and Birmingham City Council as the new operator for e-scooter rental trials in the city. The new scheme will include a number of features designed to make it as safe as possible for users and pedestrians.

This includes driving licence scanning technology with selfie verification on sign up and further checks when moving account to a new device. There will also be both random and targeted selfie verification checks to deter misuse. Beryl CEO and co-founder, Phil Ellis, said:

“We’re really excited to be working with another of the UK’s major city regions and I’m confident that our experience and innovation can help our e-scooters become a crucial cog in the region’s integrated urban transport network.

“As well as being fun, easy to use and cost-effective, our e-scooters provide a sustainable alternative to the car that helps reduce traffic congestion, cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality.

“They’re particularly useful for first and last mile journeys and a great way to connect with other urban transport systems or commute to and from the office.

"We hope that their arrival on the streets of Birmingham will encourage as many people as possible to switch to more sustainable transport.”

The e-scooters will be available to hire alongside hundreds of West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes in central Birmingham under the Beryl app, providing a truly integrated sustainable transport scheme for the region.

In another major change from the previous scheme, these e-scooters will need to be collected from and returned to a designated dock or parking bay – often located alongside the cycle hire docking stations. This will reduce roadside clutter and keep streets tidy. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said:

“Over the last three years, e-scooters became a fixture of Birmingham’s transport network – often proving to be a popular alternative to cars for shorter journeys and helping to reduce road traffic congestion.

“After what was always designed to be an initial e-scooter trial, we took the opportunity of a break in contract to try a different approach with a new operator. I would like to thank regular e-scooter users for their patience during the transition.

“E-scooters must be operated responsibly and - in partnership with Beryl - we will continuously monitor these new measures to ensure local people can be reassured about what we’re offering.”

The e-scooters will cost £1 to unlock and 20p per minute to use. They can be hired via the Beryl app, available for download on the App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android users. Available e-scooters, Beryl bays and operating zones are all visible in the app. Riders must be aged over 18 and provide a valid UK Driving Licence to use the West Midlands e-scooter scheme.

The e-scooters can be used on roads, cycle lanes, carriageways and other areas where cycling is permitted but not on pavements. Every Beryl e-scooter has vehicle approval from the Department for Transport, ensuring it meets the highest safety standards. People are also reminded that only e-scooters hired from the approved trial scheme can be ridden on the highway and public places.

Beryl currently operates three other DfT-sanctioned e-scooter hire schemes in partnership with local councils and run bike, e-bike and e-cargo bike hire schemes with ten others, including provision of the technology for London’s Santander Bikes.


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