Chester residents have been trying out the city’s new rental e-scooters over the last few weeks and have already clocked up 11,226 miles – the equivalent of nearly 13 trips from Land’s End to John O’ Groats – since 21st December.
The 12-month pilot scheme has seen more than 3,500 journeys take place in its first month, and more than 1,400 local users have signed up to access the scooters.
The trial is being run by e-scooter provider Ginger in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Users can hire the scooters on a pay-as-you-go basis via a smartphone app.
The average journey distance currently stands just short of 3 miles per trip.
Cllr Karen Shore, CWAC cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport said: “This trial could offer cleaner, efficient and more affordable travel for local communities, supporting our wider transport initiatives.”
So far, the scooters are most popular with residents from Garden Lane (who have made 743 journeys) followed by White Friars (539 journeys) and Green Lane (502 journeys).
Cllr Shore commented: “This is a very good start considering the weather and also the current restrictions due to Covid-19.”
Customer comments so far include:
- “Freezing cold, raining… and still absolutely loved it.”
- “Excellent e-scooters really good fun, app works well only thing I would like to see is how many e-scooters are available at each parking area.”
The council has been a small number of issues so far, however.
For instance, there have been two reports of children riding with adults, and one report of an adult passing a scooter to a child.
The e-scooters are not toys, and users require a valid driving licence to hire and ride them.
There have also been two reports of the scooters being used for non-essential purposes, which could potentially be in contravention of the current lockdown legislation.
Andy Jones, traffic management officer at Cheshire Police cautioned: “E-scooters are classed in law as a motor vehicle and with that there is a greater level of responsibility and accompanying legislation.
“Offences committed on e-scooters or in relation to the misuse of them can result in prosecution with punishments including substantial fines and penalty points on driving licences.”
He added: “E-scooters are not permitted on pedestrian-only pavements.
“User training, e-scooter design, designated routes and restricted speed limits will help to ensure that where e-scooters and pedestrians may share paths there is minimal risk.”
The trial is part of a Department for Transport initiative that was approved by the government in 2020.
One of the aims of the initiative is to reduce the pressure on public transport services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The DfT wants to explore how e-scooters can complement existing transport options, particularly for short trips.
Cllr Matt Bryan, CWAC cabinet member for the climate emergency, said: “E-scooters offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly alternative to using the car for shorter journeys and will also help tackle air pollution.
“We need to determine whether e-scooters are a viable part of a greener and healthier future for Chester, the early results are very encouraging.”
How to hire an e-scooter in Chester
- Users will need to download the Ginger Shared Transport App from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
- The e-scooters cost £2 per 20 minutes of journey time and 50p per 10 minutes of pausing time.
- E-Scooters will continue to charge their user until they are parked properly in a designated e-scooter parking area and the ride is ended on the app.
- Anyone hiring e-scooters with Ginger needs to be aged 18 or over, with a valid driving licence (full or provisional) or a motorcycle licence.
Further information can be found at: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/escooter-rental