Voi e-scooters: Bristol city mayor Marvin Rees wants them to stay following year-long trial

‘This has to be part of the city’s future’

<p>The e-scooter trial was launched in Bristol at the end of October 2020.</p>

The e-scooter trial was launched in Bristol at the end of October 2020.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees says he ‘certainly’ wants the trial of Voi rental e-scooters to be made permanent.

The red scooters were introduced as part of a 12-month scheme led by the West of England Combined Authority last October.

There are more 100 scooters available for hire, each allowing users to get around the city at speeds of up to 15.5 mph.

Often left in groups at designated parking spots by the road, they have become a visible presence in the city.

And with more than 1million rides made, Voi estimates that around 370,000 car journeys have been saved.

However, concerns over safety have been raised by Conservative city councillors who say that the trial should not be extended.

But speaking to BristolWorld, Mr Rees said the e-scooters should become part of the city’s future.

While admitting there were areas still to be worked on - storage sites and the way they the scooters handled - he said the trial had been “incredibly positive”.

He said: “There is no way of doing transport with cars, bikes and buses, and being 100 per cent perfect - but on the whole Voi has been a real positive to the city, they are popular and the numbers have grown.”

Asked if the trial should be made permanent, he said: “Well that’s certainly our intention - you wouldn’t want to run a trial and then just stop it, this has to be part of the city’s future.

“We would certainly want them to be permanent.”

On private scooters, however, Mr Rees said action was still needed over some being used inappropriately and at high speeds.

He said the issue had been raised with Mark Shelford, Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

As part of the rental e-scooter trial, Voi provides information and guidance on its website and app, including a ‘safety toolkit’ for riding e-scooters correctly.

Last month, it was reported that crime records published by Avon and Somerset Police showed that of 237 incidents involving e-scooters in Bristol, only nine were related to the Voi trial.

Voi’s UK and Ireland general manager, Jack Samler, said there now needed to be a focus on making transport systems safer for scooter riders.

A decision on the future of the trial of Voi rental scooters will be made by the West of England Combined Authority.