A brand new e scooter trial is set for launch in a third Buckinghamshire town next week.
Following the success of ongoing trials in Aylesbury and High Wycombe, a fleet of up to 20 new e scooters will initially be available in and around Princes Risborough from Monday (17 May).
Buckinghamshire Council and partners, Zipp Mobility, are busy making the final preparations and installing virtual parking bays around the town so local people can make use of a new and green way of getting around.
The three Buckinghamshire trials are part of a nationwide initiative backed by the Department for Transport (DfT) to support green local travel. The trials were fast tracked as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic in order to provide an alternative and socially distanced means of transport for the public.
For the Princes Risborough scheme, the Council and Zipp Mobility have worked with a range of partners including the Town Council, Transport for Buckinghamshire, Thames Valley Police and local disability groups. This has included deciding suitable locations for the virtual parking bays where riders must start and finish their journeys. Initial bay locations around the town will include Wycombe Road, Station Road and Woodfield Road.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Corporate Director for Planning, Growth and Sustainability, Ian Thompson said using e scooters was fast becoming a serious alternative, particularly for short local journeys which might otherwise be done by car.
“Figures so far show a huge take up in both Aylesbury and High Wycombe with e scooters already clocking up more than 71,500 miles to date with around 4,000 miles being added every week. With each rider covering around two miles per trip and average rental lasting just under 20 minutes, this is just the kind of user statistics we hoped to see.
“While we know e scootering won’t be for everyone, the two current trials have been warmly received. It’s clear that residents are discovering that e scooters offer a new, easy and alternative way to get around, whether popping to the shops, getting to and from work or simply for leisure. I’m pleased that we can now offer the trial in Princes Risborough and we look forward to hearing what people think.”
One of the main aims of the 12 month trial is to evaluate safety, any misuse of e scooters and bad riding, including incidents of riding on pavements, except where they are designated shared use footways or segregated cycleways. The rules of use are displayed on each scooter and regular communications are sent to users via the app. Printed registration numbers are also fitted to the scooters so members of the public can report any misuse. Instances of persistent misuse is taken extremely seriously with three users in Aylesbury and four in High Wycombe already banned.
Ian added, “There is still some way to go before we will know if e scooters are to become a permanent fixture in our towns and cities, but it’s fantastic to be part of this national pilot exploring alternative and more green modes of transport. In the longer term this also feeds into our ambition to improve air quality across Buckinghamshire and reduce carbon emissions.”
Will O’Brien, VP, Growth and Government Affairs at Zipp Mobility said his team was excited to be working in Princes Risborough. “Our mission is based on ‘mobility done right’ and that means working closely with the local community to hear their views and develop the trial so it best meets the needs of the town and its residents. We’ve done this in the other two Buckinghamshire trial areas and have seen very successful outcomes as a result. People are really engaging with the service and we are delighted to be making an impact in Bucks.
“We want to be really interactive with the community, so if anyone has any concerns, ideas for improvement or suggestions for additional parking bay locations, please get in touch by e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us @zippmobility.”
E scooters are currently only permitted to be used on public roads as part of a registered Government pilot scheme which ensures insurance is in place as part of the hire terms. It remains illegal to ride a privately owned e scooter on any road, pavement, cycle lane or track.
For further details about the e scooter scheme in Princes Risborough, how to hire and how much it costs, please see their e scooters page.