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Solent Transport and its partners have announced an extension of the rental e-scooter trial in Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight until May 2024. The approval comes after the Department for Transport (DfT) invited the region's local authorities to extend trials to May 2024.

Rental e-scooters have been in Portsmouth and Southampton since March 2021 and on the Isle of Wight since November 2020. The trial has been very well received, with over 139,000 registered users riding a total of 1.37million trips. Together these trips have covered just under 3.6 million kms with an average ride time of just less than 15 minutes in Portsmouth and Southampton, and more than 18 minutes on the Isle of Wight.

The trial aims to help reduce congestion, reduce CO2 emissions, improve air quality, and inspire sustainable travel choices across the Solent region. So far rental e-scooters have replaced more than half a million car trips and have saved an equivalent of 282 tonnes of CO2 emissions in Portsmouth and Southampton together.

Currently there are over 800 rental e-scooters available in Portsmouth, 1,400 in Southampton and 118 on the Isle of Wight. This year more rental e-scooter parking has been installed in both cities, meaning people are never far away from a place to pick up or drop off a rental e-scooter.

In Portsmouth e-scooters can be rented through Breeze, the new transport app for the Solent region, as well as the Voi app. Every rental e-scooter has a unique registration number, with geofencing technology used to track their location. To hire an e-scooter you must have a driving licence and be at least aged 18. Users are encouraged to wear a helmet and take Voi’s virtual safety training, Ride like Voila, via the mobile phone app, before their first ride. A range of payment options are available, including pay-as-you-go, daily and monthly passes and minute bundles.

The e-scooter trials are part of the Solent Future Transport Zone, funded by the Department for Transport. Solent Transport will continue to monitor rental e-scooter usage, working closely with local stakeholders. This collaborative work will ensure the whole community can provide feedback on the trial and that there are wider benefits from the continuation of this green and affordable way to travel.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Chair of the Solent Transport Joint Committee and Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said “The Solent Future Transport Zone is providing more and better travel options across the Solent region. As we face a global climate emergency, it’s more important than ever that our residents have access to more sustainable ways to travel. We are delighted that the e-scooter trials can continue across the three areas, helping protect the natural environment and encouraging people to make the switch from driving and even save money at a time when fuel is so expensive”.

Jim Hubbard, Senior Policy Manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with riders, Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils, the Solent Future Transport Zone and other local stakeholders to improve and deliver a safe, green and convenient service for all. With nearly 1.25m rides to date on the mainland, it shows we all share the same vision of reshaping cities to provide better places to live and work”.