Somerset West and Taunton’s e-scooter trial approved for extension
In line with the Department of Transport’s requirement that only e-scooters involved in the trial areas can be used, Minehead and Taunton’s trial vehicles have been geofenced, so that they can only be used within the permitted regions.
Credit: Zipp Mobility
Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council has announced that e-scooter trials in Minehead and Taunton are to be extended following public consultation and approval from the UK Department of Transport (DfT).
In response to the DfT’s announcement that participating local authorities can extend existing e-scooter trials until 31 May 2024, the council held a consultation to survey public opinion on safety preferences and potential future trial enhancements.
In total, 364 responses had been received, of which 252 (69 per cent) of respondents were local to Minehead and 192 (53 per cent) had experience using the trial’s e-scooters. In response to opinions on the trial being extended, with the exception of two abstentions, 199 (55 per cent) were either satisfied, more than satisfied or very satisfied, compared with 163 (45 per cent) being partly satisfied or not satisfied.
Councillor Dixie Darch, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “We’re encouraged by the DfT’s announcement and the feedback received from our recent consultation, and delighted to be extending the trials in Minehead and Taunton. Extending these trials will enable the DfT to obtain more accurate data with regards to safety and to establish best practice for shared micro-mobility services.”
Since launching in October 2020, Taunton’s e-scooter trial has seen 121,750 rides by nearly 15,000 riders travelling over 228,500 miles, while Minehead’s trial has seen almost 30,000 rides by over 12,000 riders travelling over 43,000 miles.
Minehead and Taunton’s trial schemes are managed by Zipp Mobility, which operates the service seven days a week from 05:00 until 22:30, for users aged 16 or over with a provisional or full driving licence. All e-scooters are limited to 15.5 mph with speed reductions electronically enforced in certain zones across the trial areas.
Charlie Gleeson, CEO of Zipp Mobility, said: “We are delighted to be able to continue to contribute to Somerset West and Taunton’s ambitious climate action goals. This move is a clear recognition of the success of the trial to date and we look forward to improving on this over the next 18 months.”
While the trials continue until May 2024, SWT will continue to work with Zipp Mobility, Avon and Somerset Police (ASP) to promote the rules of the road and safety – not only for riders but also for other road users and pedestrians through training and education sessions.
As it remains illegal to use privately owned e-scooters in public spaces, DfT has stipulated that only e-scooters that are involved in the trial areas can be used. Therefore, Minehead and Taunton’s trial e-scooters have been geofenced, limiting their use to within the permitted regions.
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