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Voi answers four key questions ahead of e-scooter and e-bike trial in Cambridge

A 12-month trial that will bring e-scooters and e-bikes for hire to Cambridge will begin in September - and we’ve put some key questions to the operator, Voi.

A Voi e-scooter in Cambridge. Picture: Matthew Power Photography
A Voi e-scooter in Cambridge. Picture: Matthew Power Photography

Commissioned by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, the Swedish-founded micro-mobility company will bring vehicles with ‘self-cleaning’ handlebars to the city to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Accessed via an app, it will cost £1 to unlock a ride, then 20p a minute, and subscriptions of £10 a day or £40 a month will be available. Subsidised passes of £10 per month will be offered to low income groups, with key workers expected to be offered free rides and companies supported to extend their delivery services.

Work on where the vehicles will be placed is ongoing, but electrically-assisted bikes are expected to be placed at rail stations and Park & Ride sites, and may also be available at stops along the guided busway to help commuters get to work, or aid students, visitors and residents.

But will the trial cause the same issues as seen when bike-sharing company Ofo brought its yellow bicycles to the city?

And how can Cambridge avoid the problems seen with some other e-scooter schemes elsewhere in the country?

Here are Voi’s answers to our questions, plus a video showing how its scheme works.

A Voi e-scooter in Cambridge. Picture: Matthew Power Photography
A Voi e-scooter in Cambridge. Picture: Matthew Power Photography

1. How will you stop e-bikes/e-scooters being dumped or abandoned and littering the streets - a problem that affected Ofo when it brought bike-sharing to Cambridge?

“We manage our fleet daily to make sure that it is not causing clutter. This is something we did before Covid-19 but is even more important now as we look to keep our fleet clean and safe for everyone to use.

“This means we can quickly identify not only the scooters that need to be collected but also the locations where people are abandoning them, then we look at initiatives to prevent it happening in the first place.”

2. What are the age restrictions and how do you help to prevent mis-use - as seen with a different scheme in Middlesbrough recently - by people riding them anti-socially?

“Our scooters and e-bikes can only be unlocked by over 18s, who have a full or provisional driving licence.

“We have built identity checking tech into the app which will verify that the person trying to use the scooter is who they say they are.

“Since we have two years of experience in Europe we know how to spot and prevent signs of mis-use. For example we will withdraw scooters from the streets before big events like football matches.

“We use geofencing technology to make sure that scooters can't be taken out of an area so that it is very difficult to get a scooter near a waterway for instance.”

3. Will you be producing zones for parking and pick-up, and any no-go areas for users in Cambridge?

“Yes, we will use technology and incentives such as credits to make sure that people both park in the right place, are forced to slow down in particular areas and are unable to access areas not covered by the trial, in agreement with the council.”

4. When will the trial begin?

“We expect to launch e-scooters in central Cambridge by the beginning of September and e-bikes soon after that.”

How the scheme works

Read more

UK’s first electric bike and e-scooter trial coming to Cambridge

E-scooters: transport solution or health and safety hazard?

Vandalism and theft of dockless bikes in Cambridge ‘regrettable’ says Ofo

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