New West Midlands e-scooter operator and start date revealed
A new brand of e-scooters for hire is set to hit the streets of the West Midlands in June, it has been revealed.
E-scooter and bike hiring specialists Beryl will be the region’s new operators following the end of the contract with Voi following safety concerns.
The UK-based company was awarded the contract following a tender process and the e-scooters will be rolled out in phases throughout the rest of the year, beginning in June in Birmingham. Other areas of the West Midlands may then follow.
The distinctive turquoise scooters will be available to hire alongside existing bikes on the Beryl app with the full details of the scheme, including pricing, parking locations, safety measures and launch date, yet to be announced.
Criticism was levelled at Voi, TfWM, and WMCA transport portfolio holder Coun Ian Ward, following the death of a 12-year-old boy who crashed into a bus on one of the pink e-scooters.
In February, a 16-year-old boy was left in critical condition after the e-scooter he was riding struck a car in Balsall Heath.
On both occasions Voi assisted police with their enquiries.
The company stated that only those aged 18 or over, with a full or provisional UK driving license, were legally allowed to use them.
Beryl currently operates three Department for Transport-sanctioned e-scooter hire schemes in partnership with Norfolk County Council, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council and the Isle of Wight Council.
It also runs bike, e-bike and e-cargo bike hire schemes in Watford, Hereford, Hackney, Westminster, Greater Manchester, Cornwall, Plymouth, Brighton and Solent and provide the technology for London’s Santander Bikes.
Beryl CEO and co-founder, Phil Ellis, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been selected to deliver an e-scooter hire scheme in the West Midlands and look forward to bringing our experience and innovation to another of the UK’s major city regions.
“We already know that e-scooters are becoming an incredibly popular way for people to get around urban environments, offering people a fun, sustainable and cost effective alternative to the car that can contribute to reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
“When delivered alongside other sustainable modes of transport under the same scheme, they can really play a vital role as part of integrated urban transport systems.”
Mike Waters, director of policy, strategy and innovation with TfWM, said: “E-scooters have proved popular in Birmingham over the last few years, so we know many users will be pleased to see the new Beryl hire service on the streets in time for the summer.
“There’s an added benefit as those who are already signed up for West Midlands Cycle Hire will conveniently be able to use the same app to rent an e-scooter.
“Making it easier and safer for people to walk, cycle and scoot, especially for those shorter journeys, is a key part of our emerging Local Transport Plan and will assist with improving both our heath and the wider environment.”
Phil Edwards, assistant director transport and connectivity with Birmingham City Council, said: “Just this week we hosted the Birmingham Transport Summit, talking about the need to fundamentally change how people move around the city; we need to drastically reduce the reliance on cars and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.
“E-scooters are great for shorter journeys, alongside walking and cycling so we can all live in a healthier environment.”