Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
A 12-month trial to bring sustainable transport into two Staffordshire towns through electric scooter hire comes to an end this week.
Over the last year Staffordshire County Council has been working with its transport partner Amey and electric scooter providers Ginger and Zwings to trial micromobility e-scooters in Stafford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme as part of a Department for Transport-funded programme.
The £22.9m ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs programme in Staffordshire has included the trial of electric scooters, installation of ‘living walls’ made from plants to absorb carbon dioxide, and installation of temporary free electric vehicle charging points.
This successful year-long scooter trial will come to end tomorrow, Wednesday September 15, seeing e-scooters removed from the streets of Staffordshire. The county council and the operators will be working together to bring an electric bike rental scheme to Staffordshire in the coming months, more information on this will be available shortly.
Since the trial started in September 2020, 200 e-scooters have been operational with bays deployed in both Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme. There have been over 40,000 rides taken across the county, that’s four times around the circumference of the earth. The length of ride has varied with the average distance per ride being 4.9km –the longest journey was 38km.
The aim of the trial was to understand the feasibility and impact of micromobility in rural settings to investigate ways that this could be scaled up as well as the impact on the environment, which saw notable carbon reductions due to the shift to using e-scooters instead of cars for shorter journeys.
As the trial comes to a close, evidence gathered over the past 12 months, both successes and challenges, will be shared with the Department for Transport as part of the emerging decarbonised mobility agenda.
With the withdrawal of Ginger and Zwing e-scooters, it still remains illegal to use private e-scooters and should not be purchased as a replacement. They remain illegal and unregulated.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said:
We have been able to bring an alternative and more environmentally friendly method of transport to two of our towns and we can now feed back the trial data to central government.
We’re grateful to the two electric scooter providers and the Live Labs programme team for enabling us to run the trial. We look forward to continuing other elements of the programme across the county as we maintain our drive as a county council to reduce carbon emissions and help to tackle climate change.”
The e-scooter trial in Staffordshire formed part of the Department for Transport trials that were approved by the Government back in July 2020. Through the Live Labs SIMULATE programme. Run by SCC and Amey, the e-scooter trial formed part of a series of evolving micromobility solutions that are underway to understand the future of shared transport services and a means to enable people to connect more easily and sustainably.
Amy Liebig-Phillpotts, Head of Business Improvement for Transport Infrastructure at Amey, said:
Working closely with Staffordshire County Council and e-scooter operators Ginger and Zwings we’ve brought a new mobility solution to Staffordshire that has seen positive feedback from users and notable carbon reductions. The aim of the trial was to investigate the feasibility of the use of e-scooters and showcase an alternative mode of transport. I’d like to thank all those who have participated in this trial and shared their feedback with us.
We continue to work closely with Staffordshire County Council as part of the ADPET Live Labs programme on mobility trials across the county.”
Paul Hodgins, CEO of Ginger, said:
The pilots in Staffordshire have been part of the SIMULATE transport innovation project. We've had great co-operation between Staffordshire County Council, Amey, and all the project partners. This pilot is different to the other e-scooter pilots around the country, being part of a wider innovation project. Whilst the Government works through its plans for new mobility, it is important that we keep innovating.
When e-scooters were introduced last year, they were new to the UK and unknown to most users. Users now have that experience, and have seen the benefits of shared e-mobility. With SIMULATE, and the time we have before full legalisation, we have a unique opportunity to test reaction and usage to shared e-bikes in Staffordshire against what is now known about the usage of e-scooters. The same test could not have been previously. So later this autumn we will be providing e-bikes in just the same way we have been providing e-scooters. It will be an incredibly valuable test both for policy makers and Ginger as a British provider of micromobility.
We need a strongly competitive UK industry in this new and rapidly growing area of transport. Staffordshire County Council and the SIMULATE partners have been fantastic in their support for that development. We are excited about continuing our partnership with the Council and the SIMULATE partners. Local transport in the UK is going to significantly change for the better over the next few years. This project in Staffordshire is at the forefront of testing what local residents want.”