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UK update: Voi deploys its first scooters in Northamptonshire and wins exclusive trial in West Midlands

UK update: Voi deploys its first scooters in Northamptonshire and wins exclusive trial in West Midlands

Today is a big day for Voi in the UK. In February, we hinted that you might be seeing Voi e-scooters on British roads in the near future. In May, we welcomed the Department of Transport’s decision to fast-track e-scooter trials across the UK, to assist with the sustainable reopening of the economy and transport systems as the country emerges from the Covid-19 lockdown.

Well – today it’s all coming true. We are launching our first e-scooters in Northamptonshire, and proudly announcing that we have won an exclusive 12 month trial in West Midlands, kicking off in Birmingham and Coventry next week already!

UK citizens – get ready to fall in love with Voi!

Launch day in Northamptonshire

Today we launched our first fleet of e-scooters on UK streets after being selected to run an exclusive e-scooter trial across Northampton and Kettering by Northamptonshire County Council. A safety event kicks off the launch at Market Square in Northampton between 10.30 am and 6 pm, where citizens can come and meet the Voi team, download the Voi app and learn how to ride an e-scooter. Visitor’s can also complete Voi’s digital traffic school RideLikeVoila to learn about safe riding and traffic rules for e-scooters, and earn free rides.

Northampton’s e-scooter trial will start with 300 e-scooters, with more being introduced over time. The Voi e-scooters will help residents and visitors to Northampton and Kettering leave their cars behind, reducing congestion and pollution in these towns. E-scooters will be placed at key points in the towns, including transport hubs and shopping centres.

Voi expects to create more than 50 jobs in the region, as part of its partnership with Northamptonshire Council.

Voi wins trials in West Midlands – the biggest tender in e-scooter history to date

We are proud to announce that Voi has been appointed to operate e-scooters in the West Midlands, which was announced today at an unveiling event in Birmingham. The trial will launch to the public in Birmingham and Coventry next week and be rolled-out across the region soon after.

E-scooters will be rolled-out in Birmingham and Coventry from next Thursday (10 September). Soon afterwards, the scooters will be deployed in Sandwell (West Bromwich), Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Warwickshire.

The tender process, which was started last month by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), concluded with the contract being offered to Voi as the sole operator.

The public will initially be able to access and ride e-scooters within the immediate vicinity of Birmingham and Coventry’s city centre, with an ambition to expand the trial zones as the trial progresses.

E-scooters unquestionably offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly, alternative to the car.
– Mayor Andy Street

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said:
“The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and it is great to be able to partner with Voi and reveal our plans for e-scooters across the region.”

“E-scooters will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the West Midlands, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home. E-scooters unquestionably offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly, alternative to the car for shorter journeys around our towns and cities, which will in turn help to ease traffic congestion and tackle air pollution.”

“As well as the improvements to our transport network, e-scooters could also be a much-needed boost for the region’s economy, helping to attract people back into our town and city centres.”

“It is a great coup for the West Midlands to be at the forefront of the Government’s e-scooter trial, and I look forward to continuing to work with Voi and local authorities to make sure we maximise the potential of e-scooters across the region.”

I hope the people of Birmingham will embrace this new, environmentally-friendly way of getting around our city.
– Cllr Wasseem Zaffar

Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, said:
“This is brilliant news for the West Midlands, and I am delighted that Birmingham will be one of the first UK cities to trial e-scooters. This provides the public with yet another green alternative to private car, supporting social distancing but also helping to reduce pollution levels and improve air quality.”

“Working with our partners, we have managed to turn this project around really quickly and made sure that safety is absolutely paramount. I hope the people of Birmingham will embrace this new, environmentally-friendly way of getting around our city.”

Up to 10,000 e-scooters are due to be deployed across the region over the course of the trial. Birmingham and Coventry will initially start with 200 each, with demand monitored by Voi – working closely with Local Authorities.

Riders will need a provisional or full driving licence to unlock an e-scooter. They will cost £1 to unlock and 20p per minute to ride, however there will be reduced rates for NHS workers, students and those on low incomes. Those who are looking to use the e-scooters regularly can have unlimited rides for £40 per month. Private e-scooters will not be permitted as part of the trial.

To make sure that e-scooters are introduced as safely as possible, Voi has gone over and above Government requirements on age limits, insurance and rider verification. Voi will provide in person and online rider education, provide rider identity verification and will make RideLikeVoila – its online traffic school – available to users in the West Midlands.

Cars no longer suit the way we live today, and we estimate that 20 per cent of short journeys could be replaced by low-carbon e-scooters.
– Lucy Yu, Director of Public Policy, Voi

Lucy Yu, Voi’s Director of Public Policy, said:
“In the UK, 60 per cent of car journeys are between one and three miles, which significantly increases congestion. Cars no longer suit the way we live today, and we estimate that 20 per cent of short journeys could be replaced by low-carbon e-scooters with a minimum five-year lifespan. E-scooters provide a compelling alternative that will outrun the car.”

Voi is also committed to upholding West Midlands Combined Authority’s health and safety policy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the region. Voi is adding Shieldex Copper-Tape to the handlebars of its e-scooters, which kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, and all e-scooters will be disinfected every 24 hours.

The trial is due to run for 12 months. It will be closely reviewed by the Department of Transport and Transport for West Midlands working closely with local authorities and stakeholders, with a view to establishing longer-term options for e-scooters in the region. Those wishing to offer comment on e-scooters can do so by emailing innovation@tfwm.org.uk.

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