Are e-scooters the best way of commuting?


E-scooters were rolled out to the roads of Northamptonshire as per the trial arrangement between Northamptonshire County Council and Voi Technology UK Limited (Voi). After a competitive tender process instituted by Northamptonshire County Council, Voi Technology UK Limited (Voi) was designated to offer an on-street e-scooter rental facility in Northamptonshire. Initially, a fleet of nearly 300 e-scooters was introduced in Northampton as well as Kettering to lessen congestion and to support eco-friendly travel.

The 12 month trial as part of the Smart Move Northamptonshire initiative helped in managing the transport network, delivering information, and presenting more travel choices. The e-scooter trial can be considered to be a part of a wider plan from the Department for Transport (DfT) which was fast-tracked as an element of response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Essentially, this trial assisted in reacting appropriately to the immediate need to deliver a clean and green substitute to the public transport system and car share for people traveling to work or undertaking essential/unavoidable journeys. New legislations were also introduced to make e-scooter lawful in the UK. Riders need to be 18 years of age, would require a provisional driving license, need to have Voi’s app for digital scooter and it would cost £1 to unlock for +£0.20 every minute. Riders would be asked to present identification verification of their provisional license for driving through the Voi’s app. This e-scooter service has certainly helped people in Northamptonshire, particularly in the shorter journey, enhancing local connectivity where access to the public transport system is limited.

There are dedicated spaces and detailed infrastructure for physical parking for micro-mobility in public spaces, however, riders can leave scooters wherever it is suitable for them. E-scooters are positioned within the center, within the precincts of universities, and near railway stations. The speed limit for e-scooters is 15.5 mph and it is also engineered in that way so that riders cannot ride faster. The models of e-scooter are also very robust and at the same time durable. The possibility of theft is also low as thieves will find it hard to remove and it will stop functioning once it will be outside the trial zone and disconnected from the application. This scheme of e-scooter that integrates entirely with providers of local public transport undoubtedly helps in managing the enhanced demand for safer travel options.

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