Since celebrating its first anniversary in Northamptonshire earlier this month, leading shared e-scooter company Voi is having an extra celebration, as the region extends the trial of e-scooters until March 2022.
Councillors Jonathan Nunn and Graham Lawman joined Voi’s team earlier this week to highlight the councils’ commitment to making Northamptonshire a more sustainable and low-carbon place to live in, while offering residents an affordable, flexible and fun way to travel around.
This vote of confidence in Voi’s e-scooters from North and West Northamptonshire councils is the result of a year-long cooperation between all stakeholders to make shared micromobility an important part of everyday life in the region as ridership tops 835,000. Since September 2020, riders have covered 1.2 million miles in Northamptonshire as users adopt Voi for commuting to work, getting to the gym, meeting friends and running errands.
The extension is also recognition of Voi’s hard work introducing measures that places educating riders around safety, parking, and sustainability at the forefront of the micromobility experience. Measures that have contributed towards increased public confidence in using e-scooters and e-bikes regularly, and therefore towards this decision to extend the trial, include having staff on the ground to monitor e-scooter activity, state-of-the-art technology, and the introduction of parking racks across the city.
In addition, Voi continues to incentivise the general public to report situations of misuse or vandalism via its ‘Report a Voi scooter’ page.
Sam Pooke, Senior Public Policy Manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said:
“It has been such an exciting year working with West and North Northamptonshire Councils, contributing to this transformation of the town and surrounding areas into a cleaner, and more sustainable environment.
“It takes time and a lot of collaboration to cater for and respect all of Northamptonshire’s needs when it comes to making micromobiliy work for everyone. We are delighted to have been given more time to build on this, and will continue to listen to our users, local community, and key stakeholders, such as disability and visually impaired groups to ensure micromobility can work for everyone. This trial extension will be invaluable, and can only help to strengthen an already proactive and prodigious collaboration.
“We are delighted to be continuing on our Northamptonshire Voiage.”
One of the most important reasons for introducing micromobility in Northamptonshire is to make public transport accessible to a greater number of people. With many people taking e-scooter rides to connect with public transport, the use of private cars is visibly decreasing. This is aligned with Voi’s championing of the 15-minute cities movement, a vision that enables anyone to get anything they want in their cities in just a quarter of an hour.
In Northamptonshire alone, 190 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been prevented and 410,000 cars journeys replaced since the e-scooters were introduced, proving that micromobilty is key to combating the climate crisis – another reason to celebrate the extension of this trial. The growing popularity of e-scooter usage shows, therefore, that not only is the region leading in terms of sustainability and equitable access to transport, but also in creating towns made for future generations.
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said:
“As with any new scheme that’s introduced, we know some people have had concerns, particularly around scooter parking and riding on pavements and we’re working closely with our partners to try to address these issues, and use enforcement against inappropriate use where necessary. But I would encourage people to give Voi’s safe, authorised scooter scheme a go, rather than opting for private, unregulated scooters which are illegal to use on public highways.”
“So we feel that the trial has been a real success over the past year and continues to evolve and increase in popularity as residents look at more convenient and eco-friendly ways to get around. Most importantly, our council has made a climate commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, and that’s a really important but challenging commitment. Using innovation and sustainable transport plays a key role in this bold vision.”
Cllr Graham Lawman, North Northamptonshire executive member for Highways, Travel and Assets, said:
“As you can see from the numbers this pilot has been popular with thousands of people regularly enjoying this affordable green transport alternative.
“When the scooters were first introduced in Northamptonshire, we knew there would be some misuse and a pilot allows us to test and tweak the scheme so that it works for everyone. With Voi and the support of the Government for electric mobility, we have a unique opportunity to build on what we have learned in the past year and continue to test usage and reaction to help shape this innovative scheme. Both Voi and the Council are planning to continue to both educate and enforce to ensure the scheme has the best outcomes for all.
“There’s exciting potential here and an opportunity for e-scooters and other forms of electric transport to grow and become a major part of our commitment to addressing climate issues through new technology.”