All NHS staff and Emergency Service workers can now make Voi scooter journeys in Cambridge, free of charge, 24/7 hours a day during the period of new national restrictions, set to be in place until 2nd December 2020.
The Combined Authority, led by Mayor James Palmer, is also expanding the e-scooter operational zone in Cambridge to make it easier for doctors, nurses and other emergency service workers to get to and from work in a socially distanced and safe way. From Monday 9th November, e scooters will be in operation at Trumpington Park and Ride and Addenbrooke’s hospital, providing a key alternative to car travel for NHS workers.
There are currently an estimated 26,500 visits to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus every day from patients, staff, academics, scientists, and visitors so traffic into Addenbrooke’s has the potential to be significant, even during a period of national restrictions on travel and work.
The Combined Authority has also taken action to increase the number of scooters available from 50 to 100. The goal is to make it easy for NHS and Emergency Service staff to use this safe and carbon-neutral alternative to public transport or car, so their journey to work less stressful and more enjoyable.
During the period of new national restrictions, Voi is providing NHS and Emergency Service workers with free rides as part of its Voi 4 Heroes initiative throughout the duration of the second lockdown, so it is easier for them to travel around in a socially-distanced manner in their city. To apply for a Voi 4 Heroes pass, users need to upload a valid NHS identity, Blue Light card or a Defense Discount Service through the Voi Website. The ID card must be clear and legible and include the full face of the document. On receipt of the proof, Voi will send a confirmation email allowing the rider to claim free rides in the Voi app, any rides taken before are not eligible for discount.
To keep riders safe, all Voi e-scooters are disinfected daily and the handlebars of each scooter feature copper tape which minimises coronavirus on contact. The Voi app also provides Covid-19 information and advice such as advising riders that they can wear gloves if that makes them feel more comfortable.
E-scooters have become an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to travelling around Cambridge. Since the beginning of the trial three weeks ago, there have been more than 2,500 rides, and there are over 1,200 unique active users registered. The average ride length is 19 minutes and riders have travelled more than 5,300 km since launch.
Based on a forecasted 12–16% car replacement rate and standard utilisation rates, the Combined Authority expects to save 48–115 tonnes CO2 eq. in Cambridge over the course of the trial. Close collaboration with public transport and the council with our inclusive pricing and community outreach can help foster sustainable habits and increase modal shift from cars.
Other Voi safety features include encouraging riders to wear helmets, implementing geofenced no-ride and slow-go zones to keep speeds to at 5mph in required areas and mandatory parking areas. In addition, Voi staff monitor scooter activity, making sure they are well parked and maintained. All Voi e-scooters include number plates to help identify riders, and reports of misuse are dealt with in close collaboration with local police.
Mayor James Palmer said: “We understand there may be tough times ahead for our NHS and Emergency Service staff, who continue to go above and beyond to keep people in our region safe. We have acted quickly to do what we can to try and make lives easier, working with Voi to provide free rides 24 hours a day and to provide more scooters in new locations which will hopefully help doctors, nurses and other NHS staff get to work in a safe and enjoyable way whilst avoiding traffic.”
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said: “We are aware that NHS and Emergency Service workers are under pressure during this tough period, that’s why we are offering them free rides, while the lockdown is in place. We are delighted to collaborate with the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, adapting our operating hours, fleet size and operating area to meet the local requirements and ensure these key workers can get around safely.”