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West Midlands local authorities to trial e-scooters

Trials will take place in dedicated zones in each local authority, covering areas where existing on-highway infrastructure is in place to safely accommodate e-scooter use.

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E-scooters could form part of many cities' post-lockdown transport strategies
E-scooters could form part of many cities' post-lockdown transport strategies

UK local authorities in the West Midlands are to pilot e-scooters at the end of the summer period.

 

The rental trial is being led by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Birmingham City Council and run in partnership with six other West Midlands local authorities (Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton) and Warwickshire.

 

New legislation

 

Announcement of the trial follows the move by the Department of Transport to pass new legislation to accelerate the deployment of e-scooter trials across the UK to assist with the sustainable reopening of the economy and transport systems as the country emerges from the Covid-19 lockdown.

 

Work has started to find the suitable e-scooter operator(s), with TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), initiating the tender process.

 

The appointment is expected in August, with the roll-out of a 12-month trial expected by the end of August. Some 30 potential operators have shown an initial interest in running the trial scheme.

 

The trials will take place in dedicated zones in each local authority, which have been selected carefully to be manageable in size, covering areas where existing on-highway infrastructure is in place to safely accommodate e-scooter use.

 

The trial specification will require interested operators to adhere to local rules, which focus on tackling issues of parking and safety. TfWM and the West Midlands local authorities are now focusing on engaging with key stakeholders and residents to understand local concerns and further develop rules for when the e-scooters are launched.

“E-scooters could help the region not only as we emerge from this pandemic but as we look to tackle climate change by offering a greener and healthier alternative to the car for many journeys”

“Public transport capacity will be reduced for some time after Covid-19, as social distancing requirements continue to apply. We need to be bold in finding low-carbon alternatives that help our citizens move around more easily,” said councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio lead for transport.

 

He continued: “I’m looking forward to rolling out the trial in Birmingham and across the region. It will provide an evidence base to inform the development of a longer-term policy approach to e-scooters and allow us to build a localised response for Birmingham’s particular needs.”

 

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, noted the region is well equipped to deliver this trial “at pace and on a large scale”.

 

He added: “E-scooters could help the region not only as we emerge from this pandemic but as we look to tackle climate change by offering a greener and healthier alternative to the car for many journeys.

 

“The project partners are committed to finding a suitable operator or operators to deliver a scheme that is green, non-disruptive and safe for both e-scooter users and other road users.”

 

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