Magnet fishers to the rescue as e-scooters dumped in canals weeks after launch

Pay-as-you-go electric scooters rolled out across the West Midlands to help cut pollution are having to be pulled out of the region’s canals with the help of magnet fishers.

The e-scooters were dumped in the canal
The e-scooters were dumped in the canal

The e-scooters, worth hundreds of pounds each, were launched in September but within weeks some have already been vandalised and dumped in canals.

One was retrieved by magnet fishing enthusiasts who clean up the waterways, while seeing if there are any gems to be found beneath the surface.

After the find was reported to Voi, the company hired by Transport for West Midlands to roll out the e-scooters, the groups – which included the Dudley Dippers and Peaky Dippers – were asked if they would retrieve others known to be in canals, as they are fitted with GPS trackers.

The e-scooters are set to be made available soon in the Black Country following an initial trial in Birmingham and Coventry.

Nicola Jones, from Coseley, who is part of the Dudley Dippers, said: "We were shocked at how fast they acted.

"We contacted the company and within half an hour a guy was here in a florescent jacket.

"He said he had spoken to management and asked us if we would help remove other scooters out of the canals.

"Because of the GPS tracker they know exactly where they are. There are two in Brindleyplace and others around Birmingham."

The e-scooters were dumped in the canal

The e-scooters are available to hire for £1, and then 20p for each minute they are used.

Mrs Jones, 46, said: "What a waste of money. I think it's disgusting. They couldn't be bothered to take them back so they just dumped them in the canal. It's bad for the waterways."

She said the groups were surprised to be asked to help following the discovery in Small Heath, Birmingham, but they were ready to offer their assistance if it means keeping the canals clean.

"It's cleaning up the waterways. Barges can be damaged by them. We've pulled shopping trolleys and other things out," she said.

A Voi spokeswoman said: "Safety is our top priority and we have been working closely with local authorities to ensure a successful trial and a positive experience for riders, pedestrians and the overall community.

"When we launch in a new city we always seek out collaboration with local diving groups. We welcome and support the Dudley Dippers activity and we are currently liaising with them so we can establish a close collaboration to ensure West Midlands canals stay safe and clean.”

The e-scooters are being rolled out to try and encourage more sustainable travel and cut commuting times.

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