Cambridge is a city full of sharp minds, cyclists and now scooters, which is why it is surprising to see that cars are still part of the pretty picture at all. And from the Cam to the Commons, colleges to courtyards, Cambridge must indeed be a contender for one of England’s prettiest cities.
However, our Voiagers, as you can see in the videos below, are telling us that they are tired of cars and congestion in Cambridge and, in just over a year of offering our safe and convenient e-scooter and e-bike service in this historic city, they are embracing our service with gusto. In doing so, we hope they are all changing the city’s great minds about the future of transport.
Voi enters its second year in Cambridge
We’ve entered our second year of offering e-scooters in Cambridge, and Voiagers in this iconic city has embraced this new mode of transport by taking nearly 600,000 rides to date.
When we said hello to the city in 2020, in partnership with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, we started off with just fifty scooters in town, and as more people adopted scooters to move around town our fleet and operational area is quickly expanding. At the last count, this surge in scooting has resulted in around 191,000 short car journeys being replaced, saving nearly 100 tonnes of CO2 from polluting the atmosphere.
Will, for example, is one of our keen Cambridge converts who scoots every day now: “Cars take up so much space and you don’t need them for menial tasks, like going to Tesco – you just get a scooter. It’s so much better for the environment. It’s just a better experience.” We are awarding Will an honorary Voi degree for getting it spot on when he shares the Voi joy exclaiming: “They make you feel so special. It’s a scooter, it’s not that deep, but I love it!’
We agree with everything that Will says, except for one thing – giving access to safe, carbon-neutral transport in cities that are congested and polluted is ‘deep’.
Cambridge University has been ahead of the game on this front and, for many years, has not permitted its students to even possess a car in the city. Parking and congestion has long been an issue in the city, especially during peak tourist season when they join the already crowded city centre – so the academics decided to take action.
Cycling is iconic in Cambridge
Cycling is an iconic part of life in Cambridge, and there has always been a strong active travel movement in place, led by the likes of Cambridge Cycling Campaign, a charity that has been “working for more, better and safer cycling in the Cambridge area since 1995.” Micromobility has, therefore, been part of the city’s make-up long before it was even a term, which is why we also include e-bikes as part of the shared service we offer in Cambridge.
Zak, one of our Voi e-bike riders, and one of the thousands of students in the city, is loving the fact that he can get a Voi bike right outside the university and where he lives, and says they are not only convenient but cheap too. He points out that even if you don’t have a car in Cambridge, people still take taxis which add to congestion, when in fact they could just jump on a Voi.
In Zak’s words, “I tried it once and ever since, I’ve never looked back.”
Continuing Cambridge’s tradition of sustainable travel
Zak is not the only person not looking back as we have seen that, over the course of the trial, more and more riders are leaving their cars behind.
The presence of bikes in Cambridge is already iconic for the half a million or so tourists that visit Cambridge every year. However, we are delighted to see that many are also now exploring by e-scooter too, as more than a third of riders are choosing Voi over unnecessary short car journeys when travelling around the city.
People like Mark, for example, have opted for Voi “to get around the city and see new places.” He has also noticed that the presence of e-scooters in Cambridge has meant less congestion and, with the return of tourism in 2022 we hope that many others will also opt for sustainable tourism in Cambridge.
The Voiage has just begun
In Sylvie and Sioned’s video, they identified why micromobility is so important in helping Voi achieve its vision of creating better cities for living. As Sioned said: “Using electric scooters is really important for us to try and live the life we want to leave for others.”
Cambridge is normally a bustling place, filled with students and tourists, so having a convenient, flexible and environmentally-friendly mode of transport is of utmost importance in helping people to move around easily. Unlike most other cities, it is ahead of the game in making green travel a way of life.
So, we just want to thank the people of Cambridge for coming on our Voiage with us at such an important time. Even though it’s early days for the modal shift that is needed to minimise congestion and pollution in Cambridge, their enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring. In the words of one of Cambridge’s most famous graduates, Alan Turing: “We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”