Portsmouth and Southampton might be best known for seafaring, but we hope the addition of Voi e-scooters to the coastal cities — on 16 and 18 March respectively — will coax their denizens onto dry land!
The launch is part of a 12-month trial funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), which began on the Isle of Wight in November 2020. The trial is being led by Solent Transport, a partnership body that includes Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council, as well as Voi. We are currently collaborating with the councils to confirm parking and riding zones, and we will share further details once we get closer to the launch date.
We’re still living in the time of COVID-19, and our rental e-scooters offer an open-air, socially distant mode of transport. Our scooters undergo thorough daily cleanings and maintenance, and we’re testing out new handlebars, made of an antiviral/antimicrobial material, that inactivates the coronavirus. E-scooters are easy on the environment, too, because they help to reduce the number of short car trips, consequently improving air quality; they provide a convenient, accessible way to travel, especially for first- and last-mile journeys.
Safety is the top priority for Voi and both cities. We’re working closely with the councils to educate riders through online and offline educational campaigns. We also encourage riders to complete RideLikeVoila, the world’s first certified digital e-scooter traffic school, which has trained over half a million riders so far.
Users must be 18+ and hold a provisional or full driving licence. You can ride our shared e-scooters on the same road spaces as bikes, including cycle lanes. Riding on pavement is prohibited. (It’s also important to note that private e-scooters are not included in the trial and are illegal to use, except on private land.)
Councillor Steve Leggett, cabinet member for green city and place for Southampton City Council, said, “We welcome the trial of rental e-scooters which will help to keep the city moving as we start to emerge from the pandemic in the spring, while also supporting our Green City Plan to tackle climate change by offering greener and healthier alternatives to the car. Crucially, rental e-scooters will also offer a unique way to get our visitors and residents more active.”
Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for traffic and transportation, said, “I’m delighted to support this regulated, rental e-scooter trial which will contribute towards our developing plans for a greener, cleaner and safer city. Our participation in the trial will feed into the DfT’s development of regulated, rental e-scooters as a versatile, affordable, convenient and low-energy alternative to the car. We’re working closely with Voi and Solent Transport to make sure this is introduced safely whilst also working with the police on the illegal use of privately owned e-scooters.”
Welcome to the Voi fam, Southampton and Portsmouth!