E-SCOOTER trials could soon be taking place on the streets of Redditch.
One of the companies bidding for the contract with the borough council is Bolt, a firm with extensive involvement in the European e-scooter market.
And it’s UK Country Manager Matt Barrie said the benefits e-scooters could bring to Redditch were substantial.
“In Germany, for instance, we’ve found house prices have increased in areas where they are just a five minute scooter ride from workplaces and / or transport hubs,” he said.
“We’ve also found they increase social mobility and in the current climate it’s a much safer way to travel than using some forms of public transport.
“They lower emissions, improve air quality and we’ve found they replace between eight and 16 per cent of car journeys under four kilometres.”
He added there was also the sheer pleasure of riding on a scooter: “I was in Salford the other day and even the most sceptical among them as soon as they got on one they had a smile on their faces at the end of it.”
The scooters will be based in docking stations and controlled via a smart phone app, and an example pricing structure would be 20p per minute, down to 12p per minute after ten minutes.
A single day hire could be £10, £19 per week, and £59 for a month, in which case the hirer would be given a charging plug.
The scooters would also be ‘geo-fenced’ so couldn’t be used outside the trial area.
“We understand that scooter riding is not for everyone and if we are fortunate enough to be selected by Redditch we will run information clinics, safety clinics and explain things to people,” said Matt.
“It’s important to us to provide this service so that it adds value to the whole of Redditch and not just a specific subset.”
Helmets are not mandatory but Matt said everyone would have access to one via pick-up points in the town.
The e-scooter initiative is being backed by Redditch MP Rachel Maclean, who is also a junior minister at the Department for Transport.
She said: “We could soon have e-scooters available for hire in Redditch as part of the government’s trial.
“It’s an exciting form of active travel and is part of our plans to build back greener in Redditch.”