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E-scooter rental trial period extended

The trial of rental Voi e-scooters in the Solent region, part of the Solent Future Transport Zone (FTZ), has been extended by both Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils until March 2022.

The decision by both councils reflects consideration of the impact of the scheme across the region which concluded that rental e-scooters have been used responsibly and safely by the vast majority of riders. The extension of the trials also allows local transport authorities, Solent Transport and the Department for Transport, who are funding the Solent FTZ, additional time to collect data on rental e-scooter use as well as understand the impact of rental e-scooter hire as a public transport option.

Voi operates rental e-scooters in both cities and across the region has recorded almost 450,000 rides. Figures provided by Voi suggest that nearly four in ten riders are choosing to use rental e-scooters for their journeys within the FTZ, which has helped replace nearly 200,000 unnecessary short car journeys and saved an estimated 120 tonnes of CO2 so far over the course of the trial.

Cath Longhurst, from Portsmouth, a regular user who replaced her car with a Voi, said: “During lockdown, I decided to do things differently and sold my car because it was just sitting there. With the introduction of Voi in Portsmouth, I realised that I could replace my car by renting an e-scooter for many short journeys, meaning I can still do all the things I need to do, including regularly commuting back and forth into the city. They are a great addition to Portsmouth and I encourage everyone to give Voi a try.”

The safety of riders and other road users continues to be a focus for operators and local transport authorities. Voi has conducted nine monthly safety seminars and regular safety events in Portsmouth and Southampton, where they have given away nearly 400 free helmets.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, of Solent Transport’s Joint Committee and Portsmouth City Council Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transport says: “It’s reassuring to know that so many people are embracing rental e-scooters as a more sustainable alternative to short car journeys, which can so often be avoided. Results from Portsmouth City Council’s recent survey have revealed that 56 percent of rental e-scooter rides would otherwise have been by made car or taxi for shorter journeys, which can only lead to cleaner air in the city.”

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