Some 350 yellow e-scooters are in use across Nottingham in a new service and people across the area are becoming more environmentally friendly by using them.
Priced at 12 pence per minute and being trialled for 12 months, the urban transport devices are proving to be popular.
Residents of Nottingham and students who travel to the city are using them five to six times per scooter per day, according to e-scooter company Wind Mobility.
‘I much prefer them to taking the bus’
Jacob Cran, Daily E-Scooter rider
The scooters travel at up to 15 miles per hour but slow down via a GPS-based internal device in pedestrian-heavy areas to ensure everyone involved is safe. Users must be 16 years old and have a provisional driver’s licence to be able to use them.
There has been some concern, however, that the scooters are often left abandoned in the middle of pavements around Nottinghamshire.
Felix Eggert, policy and communications manager at Wind Co who provide the scooters to the city via the support of Nottingham city council, said that “there are a number of predesigned parking spots within the Wind app. However, as they’re geo-fenced, the spots aren’t physically marked.”
Jacob Cran, who has taken out a monthly subscription on the e-scooters, thinks they are a great addition to the city, providing a fun and affordable way of getting around: “I much prefer them to taking a bus.”
There was an isolated case at the end of 2020 where vandalism led to one scooter being completely dismantled and the battery set on fire.
Eggert said: “We try to educate our users wherever possible through our app or social media channels. The city council does the same to try to stop anti-social behaviour. We also have patrollers on the ground.”
Only one per cent of the scooters end up lost, stolen or damaged in Nottingham.
Sarah Grayton, who works regularly with NFB UK, a charity working to improve the welfare for all blind and visually impaired people, suggested halting the roll-out of the scooters: “Dockless e-scooters do not deliver safe and accessible pavements and are a dangerous for pedestrians – especially the blind.”
Eggert answered: “We are also in touch with organisations for the visually impaired. We are working on a trial programme that, if successful, will be rolled out in Nottingham and have the customer service contact information on the scooters in Braille so anyone can report issues with the scooters and the team can come and sort any issues.”
Measures are in place to ensure that when bars and clubs reopen, the scooters will not be used by those intoxicated.
Eggert said the mission for Wind Co is to “ease congestion caused by cars, provide a solution for better air quality and to make cities greener and more sustainable”.
Richard Alvin, managing editor of the website Electric Vehicle Powered, said: “The e-scooter hire schemes like the one Nottingham council have introduced are fast and an environmentally safe way to travel around the city.
“With as many as one third of journeys undertaken by cars only having one occupant, this could dramatically reduce congestion and speed up journey times.”
The Department for Transport will decide in November 2021 whether the roll-out will be permanent.