In November 2020, Buckinghamshire Council introduced a year long pilot e-scooter scheme in Aylesbury and High Wycombe.
Working in partnership with ZippMobility, 25 e-scooters were set up in each town and made available for people to hire for short journeys in the local area.
Four months since the scheme went live, the number of e-scooters in operation is now 240 as demand has grown and both schemes have taken off. Insight gathered over the past few months shows:
- Average journeys last around 15 to 20 minutes.
- Distances travelled range between one and two and a half miles.
- The most popular times for use are between 2.00pm and 10.00pm.
- More than 14,000 journeys have been made in Aylesbury and just over 10,000 in High Wycombe.
The pilot schemes were set up as a result of an initiative launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) to support green local travel by trialling the use of e-scooters across the country. The trial period was fast-tracked as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to provide an alternative means of transport for the public.
Buckinghamshire Council worked with a range of partners including Transport for Bucks, Thames Valley Police, town centre management teams, disability groups and parish and town councils to decide on suitable locations for the virtual parking bays where riders must start and finish their journeys.
One of the main aims of the e-scooter trials is to evaluate safety. While no major incidents have been reported for either of the schemes in Buckinghamshire to date, work is ongoing to combat misuse of the e-scooters including incidents of riding on pavements which is not allowed.
As a result of misuse a total of three users have been banned in Aylesbury and four in High Wycombe. The rules of use are printed onto each scooter and regular communications are sent to users via the app. Printed registration number stickers are also fitted to the scooters so members of the public can report any misuse.
Members of the public are able to give feedback on the scheme via anonymised comments. Any reports of misuse will be followed up by Zipp.
The mix of general comments is both positive and negative. While there have been more negative comments received, the majority claim the scheme is a waste of money and complain about the cost of hiring. Some also dislike the obstruction to the pavement where parking bays are located. The positive comments focus on the scheme offering a great alternative way to get around and the way Zipp has dealt quickly and effectively with issues and complaints.
Ian Thompson, Corporate Director for Planning, Growth and Sustainability at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘We are pleased to see our trial e-scooter schemes have taken off so well in both Aylesbury and High Wycombe.
Our studies show that despite a few minor incidents and negative comments which are to be expected, the schemes have been warmly received in both areas. Residents are discovering that e-scooters offer a new, easy and alternative way to get around town, whether popping to the shops, getting to and from work or for making your way home after an evening out.
There is still some way to go before we will know if e-scooters are to become a permanent fixture in our towns and cities but it is fantastic to be part of this national pilot exploring alternative and more green modes of transport.
In the longer term this feeds into our ambition to improve air quality in Buckinghamshire and reduce carbon emissions.‘
Throughout the pilot Buckinghamshire Council has been working with town and parish councils and other organisations to deal with any incidents or concerns and amending the scheme as needed. Discussions are also under way with several town and parish councils looking at extending both schemes into areas beyond the immediate town centres.
Currently e-scooters are only permitted to be used on public roads as part of a registered Government pilot scheme. It remains illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on any road, pavement, cycle lane or track.
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.