Keep pedalling! E-scooter trial extension recommended for Cambridge and Peterborough
Voi e-scooters have been recommended for approval by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Transport and Infrastructure Committee (14th March) to keep operating in Cambridge until November 30th, at its Board meeting (30th March). The scheme was expected to come to an end in March 2022, however, the Department for Transport (DfT) has requested commissioning authorities to extend the trial schemes in order to continue gathering data on their impact. If an extension is approved by Members of the Board, then Combined Authority transport officers will work alongside Voi who are running the scheme and Peterborough and Cambridge City Council to continue to collect data on the safety of e-bikes and e-scooter and the environmental and health benefits of the service to feedback to the DfT.
Since October 2020, when the Combined Authority gave the green light for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to become one of the first regions in the country to roll out electric scooters and bikes to the public, these modes of transport have become a popular green alternative to the car for inner-city travel. Evidence indicates that there has been a significant shift in mode of transport from the private car. In Cambridge alone, 639,000 rides have taken place with over 1,670,608km ridden. It is estimated that 210,880 car journeys were replaced in that time with a total CO2 reduction of 112.6 tonnes.
The trial has the intention of helping people to think differently about how they travel from A to B and how they travel between other public transport options. The Combined Authority is eager to spread the benefits beyond the cities, and so has recently undertaken a workshop with constituent councils to identify objectives, challenges, and opportunities of expanding the e-bikes to market towns in the region. The towns currently under consideration are Ely, St Ives, Huntingdon, Wisbech, March and St Neots. The next step would be to undertake market engagement with potential operators to enable the expansion of the e-bike service region-wide.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson said:
“I welcome an extension of the Voi e-scooter trial. The decision to permanently provide this mode of transport in our cities is big and one that is not being taken lightly. There are a range of legitimate safety concerns which I am fully alive to, and I hope that the extension of this trial provides the information necessary to assure more people of their value as affordable and convenient modes of transport.
I have been really impressed by the success that the trial has had so far in encouraging people to make more environmentally conscious decisions about their transport choices. They have been exceptionally popular with younger people who I know have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom that the scooters and bikes have allowed. Having recently used an e-bike across Peterborough for a meeting, I can also attest to them being a much more fun and convenient way to see more of the city.
I am also delighted talks have started exploring the extension of these schemes across the region. Careful consideration must be given to health and safety concerns and particularly the challenges to the safe and responsible storage and docking of e scooters and e-bikes. We must take into account the current learning from our pilots but at the same time acknowledge that there are some very real benefits of e scooters and e-bikes. It is only right that we explore the role they can play in our region in helping hit our carbon targets, improve public health, and provide a fun, cheap and convenient way to get from A to B.”
Jack Samler, General Manager for UK and Ireland at Voi Technology, said:
“We are delighted Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority has decided to extend our trial and continue this invaluable and prodigious collaboration to deliver a cleaner, greener future for the region.
“Following the successful relaunch of our e-bikes service, we will build on our success so far to show how this safe, convenient and clean mode of transport can truly shape the way we live and get around.
“The extension is a vote of confidence in the value and quality of our service, and we’ll continue working with our riders, the local community and relevant stakeholders to ensure e-bikes and e-scooters are at the heart of the region’s transport plans.
“We are delighted to be continuing our Cambridge and Peterborough Voi-age.”