Today, Portsmouth County Council, in partnership with Solent Transport, announces the launch of the Voi rental e-scooter trial. From 6am residents will be able to rent an e-scooter for necessary journeys. Rental e-scooters can easily replace short car rides which helps to improve air quality and reduces traffic congestion. While rental e-scooters will be available to hire in Portsmouth, privately-owned, unregulated e-scooters remain illegal, except on private land.
Councillor Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said “I am excited to see the rental e-scooter trial get underway as I believe this is an important part of investigating how e-scooters could safely become a part of the way we travel in Portsmouth.”
Initially, there will be 100 rental e-scooters available to rent in Portsmouth, between 6am and 10pm. To be eligible to ride a Voi e-scooter, users need to be 18 years old and over and have at least a provisional driving licence, which they will have to upload to the Voi app when they first register. The app is available for free on Apple App Store or Google Play.
Voi rental e-scooters will cost £1 to unlock and then £0.20 per minute of usage. Voi also offers 24-hour (at £10) and 30-day (at £40) subscriptions, allowing users to take an unlimited number of 45 minute rides at a fixed rate. The company also offers discounts for students and those on a low income. Whilst the lockdown is in place, Voi is offering free rides for NHS and Emergency Service workers during lockdown and 75% discount thereafter.
Portsmouth is one of the first cities in the UK to have parking racks, this helps riders know where they can start and end their journeys and if any end up in the wrong place Voi can quickly take action. Seventeen parking racks have been installed in the city and a further seven are being proposed. These are located at The Hard Interchange, Hilsea station, near the junction of Festing Road and Albert Road, and Lakeside North Harbour, amongst other locations.
Rental e-scooters in Portsmouth are one location taking part in a regional trial across the Solent; part of the Future Transport Zone, funded by the Department for Transport.
Councillor Ian Ward, Chair of Solent Transport’s Joint Committee, said “The Portsmouth scheme of rental e-scooters, is part of a wider program of work being delivered with the aspiration of providing better sustainable transport across the Solent area, making it easier for our residents to do business, get access to services and enjoy their leisure time. E-scooters are the first in a number of innovative projects planned as part of the Future Transport Zone, to support economic growth across the region.”
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, said “The trials of rental e-scooters starting in Portsmouth could offer a socially distanced way of getting from A to B for key workers and those making essential journeys. Learning from trials already taking place, Portsmouth’s will see strict safety measures introduced – including license verification and responsible parking incentives, while also helping us better understand any impacts on public spaces.”
Safety is the top priority for Voi and the Council as they start the Portsmouth trial. The rental e-scooters include a number of safety features, in particular they can only operate within certain areas and have capped speed limits to reflect the area they are in. Voi also encourages all riders to learn how to ride safely by taking part in their digital traffic school ridelikevoila.com, which has trained over half a million users. Voi is also rolling out online safety webinars for users or anyone interested in finding out more about riding and parking a scooter safely. Information about the webinar can be found at www.voiscooters.com/safety/.
As part of the trial, Council and Voi will continue to engage with vulnerable groups and other stakeholders to make sure the overall community has the best possible experience with the introduction of this new legal transport.
Richard Corbett, Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said “We are delighted to launch the Voi e-scooters in the beautiful port city of Portsmouth. The city will also host some of our first branded parking racks, which, according to our data, positively affects parking behaviour, improving parking compliance significantly.
“E-scooters are a flexible and affordable way to move around while complying with the current social-distancing measures. Besides being one of the most environmentally-efficient ways to travel, our scooters can easily be integrated with public transport, replacing short car journeys and cutting carbon emissions. As we head towards the green recovery, micro-mobility can shape our cities for the future, making them better and safer places for all.”
Rental e-scooters should only be used as part of your essential journey. To check the latest government guidance on travel during the pandemic visit, www.portsmouth.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-residents-coronavirus-information/public-transport-and-spaces-coronavirus-information/
For more information about the trial including how to rent a rental e-scooter and further frequently asked questions visit travel.portsmouth.gov.uk/rentalescooters