Staffordshire County Council and transport partner Amey have joined with electric scooter providers Ginger and Zwings to launch micromobility trials in Stafford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme, as part of the ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs programme.
The Live Labs SIMULATE programme, run by the county council and Amey, is designed to test new innovations that can radically improve mobility and air quality across Staffordshire.
Micromobility is seen as a key addition to the future of shared transport services and a means to enable people to connect more easily and sustainably.
The trials with e-scooter providers Ginger and Zwings, form part of the Department for Transport trials that were approved by the Government in July of this year. During this time, the county council and Amey, through the Live Labs SIMULATE programme, have been working in collaboration with Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Councils as well as with Ginger and Zwings to bring more than 150 e-scooters to the streets of Staffordshire this week.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “The trials of rental e-scooters starting in Staffordshire could offer cleaner, efficient and more affordable travel for local communities.
“Learning from trials already taking place, Staffordshire’s will see strict safety measures introduced - including licence verification and responsible parking incentives, while also helping us better understand any impacts on public spaces.”
Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport David Williams said: “Our electric scooter trials in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford brings us an exciting opportunity to explore alternative and green transport options for our communities. As people gradually return to their workplace, they will be able to try a new way of travelling which may reduce bus and car use.
“The trial is part of our SIMULATE project, where selected small businesses are bringing innovation and industry expertise to find sustainable transport and clean air solutions which will bring real long-term benefits to communities and businesses. Electric vehicle development will play an integral role in future transport.
“The county council is pleased to be a partner in the SIMULATE project. We have set out our continued to commitment to combatting climate change and transport innovation is a key part of that.”
Staffordshire is a unique location to trial e-scooters due to its rural location and size of its local towns – far smaller than city locations that have e-scooters available.
Ginger will be managing the e-scooters in Stafford, with Zwings responsible for the trial at Newcastle-under-Lyme. By using two providers in different locations will provide valuable data that that will be evaluated through the SIMULATE programme over the 12month period that the e-scooters will be on trial for.
As part of trial each e-scooter provider will be operating different age restrictions. Those hiring e-scooters with Ginger need to be aged 18 and have a provisional, full drivers or motorcycle licence. Those hiring e-scooters with Zwings can do so from the age of 16 but will also need to have in their possession a provisional, full drivers or motorcycle licence.
Staffordshire County Council is working with Amey to test not only the micromobility trials but how e-scooters can form part of the evolving mobility ecosystem for Staffordshire.