Liverpool has started a year-long trial of e-scooters as a socially distanced alternative to public transport.
The pilot scheme, which is a joint initiative between Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Liverpool City Council, arrives in the city following success in Europe, where the scooters have encouraged people to avoid crowded buses and trains during the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for Voi, the company behind the initiative, backed the COVID-friendly usage of the vehicles. They told JMU Journalism: “With the scheme being so successful elsewhere, we think that people will definitely be incentivised to start using these scooters to travel to work. We’re starting it now in Liverpool, and it’s already being implemented throughout the country.
“The handles are equipped with safe material which kills the virus on contact, and then everything else is constantly sanitised. It’s completely safe, and definitely encourages people to use these scooters as opposed to a packed, potentially unclean bus.”
Situated at docking stations around the city including the waterfront and Knowledge Quarter, 50 e-scooters will be available from 6am-8pm in-line with current restrictions. The scooters will cost £1 to unlock and then 20p a minute to use and can be hired using the Voi Scooters app. All customers need a provisional driving license to rent what are the only legal electrical scooters available in the UK.
Metro Mayor of Liverpool Steve Rotherham praised the scheme’s environmental benefits. He said: “I want our area’s transport network to be as cheap, quick and green as possible. E-scooters could offer residents and tourists a quick and convenient way to get around the city centre, as happens in many European cities.”
By Nathan Sartain and Ben Roberts-Haslam