A fleet of new electric scooters will soon be available in High Wycombe and Aylesbury as part of a 12 month long rental trial.
Following Department for Transport approval for Buckinghamshire Council proposal, the e-scooters will provide local people with an alternative, convenient and more environmentally friendly way of getting around during the pandemic, particularly for those shorter journeys which might otherwise have been made by car.
The two trials in High Wycombe and Aylesbury will follow popular routes through both towns and special ‘geofencing’ technology will prevent the scooters from operating outside of set areas. Special ‘parking zones’ will also be marked out at popular points to make pick up and drop off easier.
Buckinghamshire Council is partnering with Irish company Zipp Mobility, who are taking a bespoke approach to how they run the trial in Buckinghamshire. This will help address many of the concerns that have arisen in some of the trials that got under way in other towns and cities earlier in the year.
Seven new local jobs have been created after Zipp Mobility set up operations in High Wycombe.
At the core of the Buckinghamshire trial is safety, both for the e-scooter riders themselves and other road users and pedestrians. Zipp Mobility has already led several informal discussions with local councillors and other stakeholders, in particular representatives of disability organisations, to understand their concerns and address them directly in designing the trial.
Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, Nick Naylor said: ‘Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic we’ve all experienced huge changes in our daily lives, not least in the way we travel. In addition to looking at ways to encourage more cycling and walking, the e-scooter trials bring a new dimension to short distance travel in our two main town centres.
With coronavirus restrictions set to be with us for months to come, it’s vital to keep investing in our town centres and new forms of micro-transport have the potential to make a considerable contribution. That’s why we’re really looking forward to working with Zipp Mobility on this innovative trial.‘
Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Sport and Leisure and cycling champion for Aylesbury Garden Town, Clive Harriss said: ‘I’m really excited that Buckinghamshire is part of this national trial and is helping influence future policy making in this area.
As well as offering an alternative to cycling or walking, we expect scooters to come into their own particularly for those shorter urban trips in town centres. I can’t wait to have a go.‘
Charlie Gleeson, Founder of Zipp Mobility, said: ‘Our vision is ‘micro-mobility done right’ and we are excited to make that a reality by bringing our uniquely safer model of scooter-sharing to Buckinghamshire.‘
Will O’Brien, VP of Growth & Government Affairs at Zipp Mobility, added: ‘It is vital to us that we work closely with Buckinghamshire Council and local stakeholders whilst we design and plan this trial in order for it to best meet the needs of the community.
Through extensive stakeholder engagement we have gained valuable local knowledge into the design to ensure we deliver the best trial possible for Buckinghamshire.‘
Zipp’s scooters are amongst the most robust on the market. Designed in California, specifically for the rental market, they exceed the Department for Transport’s required technical specification.
Zipp Mobility will be undertaking in-person, education and training sessions before the trials get fully under way. These will be socially distanced and follow all COVID-compliant rules. This will give people interested in using a scooter the opportunity to try one out before renting.
In order to ride an e-scooter, a person will have to be over 16 and at the very least hold a provisional driving license. A verifiable ID check will also be undertaken before a rider can hire a scooter. Scooters will be booked and paid for via the Zipp Mobility app.
The Zipp scooters will be using geofencing technology to prevent riders from going into wholly pedestrian areas or onto major roads. If they try, the scooter motors will slow down to a standstill – until they return to a permitted riding route. The maximum speed limit is 15.5 mph and it is possible to use the technology to automatically reduce speeds and create slow zones in specified areas.
To reduce the incidence of ‘scooter littering’ (where scooters are simply abandoned by their riders) the Buckinghamshire scheme will utilise marked parking bays where riders will start and finish their journeys.
During the trial there will be regular opportunities for community feedback and the trial can be modified at any time to respond to local concerns or opportunities.
Booking into one of the education and training sessions and test driving a scooter can be done by visiting https://zippmobility.simplybook.it.
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.