More e-scooters will be hitting the streets of Bath as the operating area is expanded as part of a trial by the West of England Combined Authority.
The expansion will allow people to reach new destinations by e-scooter including Oldfield Park and Bathwick.
It comes as e-scooter operator Voi announced that the Voi-4-Heroes programme is reintroduced during the new lockdown period.
The scheme gives free rides to NHS workers, emergency service personnel and the armed forces offering an alternative way to access essential work.
The 12-month trial, operated by leading e-scooter operator Voi, introduced 50 rental e-scooters in Bath and 100 scooters in Bristol.
Since launch, there have been over 62,000 rides taken and over 158,000km travelled.
In Bath, there have been over 12,500 rides and 4800 unique riders with over 31,000 km travelled.
To service the newly expanded areas, the numbers of scooters will gradually increase to 100 in Bath and 450 in Bristol.
Mayor of the West of England Tim Bowles said: “The West of England has really embraced our e-scooter trial and I’m pleased that so many people have taken the chance to try this new, low carbon form of transport that’s helping to keep our region moving.
“We’ve taken an incremental approach to the launch so that we can all get used to the scooters on our roads, and now following this early success we can expand our operating area so that more residents in Bristol and Bath can benefit from another alternative to the car for short journeys to access essential work and services.
“Alongside metrobus, our transformational MetroWest rail network and plans for a regional mass transit, we’re making it easier to get to the jobs and training opportunities that will secure our recovery.”
Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “The e-scooters have been well-received in Bath so far and are proving to be a convenient way for people to make short, sustainable journeys.
“It’s great news that the scheme is now rolling out into Bathwick and into Oldfield Park, which is a key first step in linking up with the rail station and residential areas bordering the city centre.”
The e-scooter trial has proved controversial, with some residents complaining of inconsiderate parking, dangerous riding and a lack of enforcement.
The e-scooters are available to unlock for £0.99 and cost 14p per minute. There are also a variety of subscriptions available, as well as discounted passes for students, key workers, and those on low-incomes.
To unlock an e-scooter, riders can download the Voi app, (available on iOS and Android) must be 18 years old or over and have a valid UK driving licence (full or provisional).
Safety measures to protect riders against Covid-19 include equipping all handlebars with anti-bacterial copper tape and ensuring the vehicles are regularly disinfected.
Richard Corbett, Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said: “The trial has been really well received and we are delighted to be expanding our operational area to meet the growing demand for this socially distanced mode of transport.
“As more residents, particularly key workers, use our e-scooters to go about their daily lives, the number of short car journeys will be reduced, leading to cuts in carbon emissions and congestion and ultimately creating better cities for living.”
The e-scooter trial forms part of the West of England’s £28 million plans for a Future Transport Zone in the region that will improve access to public transport for local communities through trialling new transport technologies.