Posted on Monday 23rd November 2020
Holly Brooks, Athletics Union and Sport Officer at Keele University.
Students and employees at Keele University can now travel around campus and into Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre using a new fleet of electric scooters.
The roll-out is part of a 12-month trial led by Staffordshire County Council and a range of partners including Keele University as part of a Department for Transport funded programme to test new innovations that can radically improve mobility and air quality.
The electric scooter trials, which are also running in Stafford, are part of the ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Planning and Transport) Smart Places Live Labs programme. More projects are set to get under way in 2021.
In Newcastle scooter provider Zwings launched the vehicles in September with bays around the town centre. The trial currently covers an area including Newcastle town centre, Keele University and Silverdale, but soon will expand to include wider residential regions to the north and south of the borough. Rental scooters can be used on roads and cycle lanes within the trial area but are prohibited on pavements.
Users, who must be 16 or over and hold a provisional, full or motorcycle driving licence, will be charged £1 to unlock a scooter and then 15p a minute. People riding them are strongly encouraged to wear helmets. Once a journey has been completed the scooters can be left in one of the designated parking areas detailed on the Zwings app. Speed are limited to 12mph.
The Zwings scooters are rented through the company app and users are asked to clean the handlebars before and after riding. As part of their Covid-19 response, Zwings cleans its e-scooters using an approved sanitisation spray and has applying self-cleansing copper handle grips which can render up to 99.98% of viruses and bacteria harmless.
Staffordshire County Council’s highways and transport leader David Williams said:
We’re pleased to see the electric scooter trial being extended to Keele’s University campus, particularly as the university is a partner in the programme. They will provide students and staff with an alternative transport option around the campus and into the town.
Our electric scooter trials in Newcastle and Stafford have brought us an exciting opportunity to explore alternative and green transport options for our communities.
The trial is part of our SIMULATE project, where selected small businesses are bringing innovation and industry expertise to find sustainable transport and clean air solutions which will bring real long-term benefits to communities and businesses.
As a county council we have set out our continued to commitment to combatting climate change and transport innovation is a key part of that.”
Greg Dargue, Deputy Director of Estates at Keele University, said:
As part of Keele University's commitment to significantly reducing its carbon emissions, and developing a truly integrated travel and transport system, it is working with Staffordshire County Council on a variety of sustainable transport solutions.
E-scooters could play a role as a vital part of everyday journeys – particularly the first and last miles between home, transport hubs like bus and train stations, and in the university situation as transport across the campus.
The trial will give us valuable information as to how they can be used, and people's views of them as a mode of transport.”
Holly Brooks, Athletics Union and Sport Officer, trialled the e-scooters on campus and said:
I think the e-scooters will be a great addition to Keele student life. They’re easy to use and definitely pack a punch, which is certainly needed for travelling up Keele bank. The e-scooters are very affordable too, they’re cheaper than a taxi and better for the environment. I can’t wait to use them again.”
Joe Lewin, CEO at Zwings, said:
It is great to see how many Keele University students are so excited by the introduction of the e-scooter rental scheme to the campus. We recognise that we now play an important role in supporting students and key workers to travel at a social distance in a sustainable manner.
We are working in close accordance with local representatives in Newcastle-under-Lyme, including the NHS and Keele University, to make additional scooters and parking bays available to best serve the needs of the local community. With a further enhancement to our sanitation initiatives we are providing an effective alternative to public bus services during Covid-19.”