E-scooter trials set to be expanded to areas outside Birmingham city centre
Trials of the e-scooter are set to be expanded to areas outside of Birmingham city centre – and they could soon be able to detect drunk riders too.
The innovative mode of transport also looks set for a host of other new features, including technology to stop them being used along canal towpaths.
Trials in the city centre, which started back in September, had initially been scaled back over safety concerns, with the original fleet reduced from 200 scooters to just 50.
This followed a disastrous launch in Coventry city centre, where the trial was halted after just five days due to issues with inappropriate use and parking of e-scooters.
The Coventry trial is set to resume ‘relatively soon’, and at a meeting of the sustainability and transport overview and scrutiny committee this week it was also revealed that areas to the north and south of Birmingham could soon be included in the trial.
And the expansion comes, Ioanna Moscholidou from transport planning and investment told the committee, as Voi has been working with West Midlands Police to address safety concerns, while also looking into safety measures to stop the scooters from working in certain areas.
“Voi have launched an information campaigns on how to ride it properly, there’s also information integrated in the app through which you rent an e-scooter and they are funding research on understanding how e-scooters can become more accessible,” she said.
“They are also giving away free helmets in Birmingham once a week, and they will soon be deploying technologies to detect pavement and drunk riding.
“[The new trials] will cover the areas where the canals are but e-scooters won’t be ridden by the canal. So they will stop, like they do at the moment in some areas of the city centre, as the canals will be geo-fenced, and even now e-scooters cannot be used along the canals.”
The number of scooters now available to members of the public in Birmingham has been increased once more to 100, with levels of ridership far higher than in other areas of Europe.
And now people living in the north and south of Birmingham will soon be able to take advantage of the trial, with new planned routes reaching as far as Selly Oak and Handsworth Wood.
“When I wrote this presentation the fleet had already been expanded to 75 e-scooters and at the moment it’s 100, and the operating hours have been extended slightly as well from 6am to 8pm,” Ioanna Moscholidou said.
“And we’re planning to run more tests and expand the fleet further, both in the city centre in terms of its size but also to cover other parts of the city especially to the north and south around the blue cycling route.
“I have included some maps so for the north of the city the ambition is to cover the area around the A34 cycling corridor and for the south the A38 cycling corridor and the University of Birmingham campus.”