Birmingham’s e-scooter scheme paused as Voi contract comes to an end

Posted: 28 February 2023 | | No comments yet

While Birmingham’s e-scooter scheme is paused, the city’s residents can use the West Midlands Cycle Hire as an alternative, as TfWM and Birmingham City Council explore new options and safety considerations.

e-scooter, Voi Birmingham's e-scooter scheme paused as Voi contract comes to an end

Credit: Voi Technology

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has announced that the e-scooter trial in Birmingham will be paused from 1 March 2023, following the end of its current contract with Voi Technology.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has launched an open tender for the new contract in summer 2022 and the procurement process is yet to conclude following bids from a number of interested providers. This means that there will inevitably be a break in the provision of a public rental e-scooter scheme.

As part of this contract process, TfWM, which is part of WMCA, and Birmingham City Council have taken the opportunity to look at fresh approaches, learn from current experience and continue to carefully consider the safety of the travelling public.

The authority had hoped that there would be a seamless transition to a new contract, but due to delays procuring the contract while awaiting clarity over a national e-scooter legislation, that has not been possible. 

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However, people are reminded that it remains illegal to ride a private e-scooter on public roads and in public places. As an alternative for the time being, people can use the West Midlands Cycle Hire, which includes e-bikes and is available across much of Birmingham and the wider region.  

E-scooter trials had been launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2020, under which only rental e-scooters are allowed on the streets to test the technology and asses different approaches ahead of permanent legislation being introduced. The trials are taking place across UK towns and cities.

The e-scooter operation has provided significant transport and environmental benefits to the region, with a minimum of 25% of the 2.2 million trips taken estimated to have used a scooter instead of a car – easing traffic congestion and reducing pollution.