E-scooters will be trialled in four English regions to encourage commuters to stay off public transport during the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK is the last major European economy where e-scooters are banned everywhere except on private land. However, the government believes the technology could help ease pressure on local public transport services, especially for short trips.
The government announced over the weekend it had chosen the UK’s four Future Mobility Zones – the West Midlands; West of England Combined Authority; Portsmouth and Southampton; Derby and Nottingham – to conduct the trials.
Last month, the Transport Committee launched an inquiry to look at legalising electric scooters, their impact on congestion, and potential contribution to cutting emissions.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: ‘The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and I am pleased the government has put its faith us in again with this new and innovative trial of e-scooters.
‘This trial will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the region, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home.
‘We will also use the trial to look at the current transport challenges the coronavirus pandemic has presented us with and explore how e-scooters could be used to help tackle them.
‘No region is better equipped than the West Midlands to test, review, and implement trials such as these at pace and scale, and that is testament to the hard work and innovation of those working in our future transport sector.”
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, and transport portfolio lead for the WMCA, said: ‘We’ve been clear for a long time that the future of transport in this region has to be about a wide range of options and choices. The focus must be on moving people not vehicles.
‘With a relatively young demographic profile, especially in Birmingham which has one of Europe’s youngest populations, e-scooters could be a valuable and attractive part of the solution to help people move around the West Midlands.’
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