e-scooter trials herald a new era for transport

Aug 25, 2020

by ANDREW GIBBS e: news@businessmk.co.uk

THE FIRST e-scooters on the streets of the UK are available for hire in Milton Keynes.

Spin, the micromobility unit of Ford Motor Company, has placed100 scooters on the streets for residents to begin using. Over the coming weeks, Spin will steadily increase its fleet size to match demand and is expected to have around 300 scooters on the streets by mid-September.

The company has been in discussions with local authorities across the UK with regard to launching their e-scooter services as part of the Department of Transport’s national e-scooter trials. In Milton Keynes, Spin was selected alongside two other providers as part of a competitive selection process.

Felix Petersen, head of Europe at Spin, said: “We are excited to bring the first of our UK e-scooter fleets to Milton Keynes and had a highly-encouraging response from local riders at our Spin Safe events. 

“This is the first of many e-scooters trials across the UK as part of our firm commitment to fully integrate e-scooters into local transportation ecosystems. We hope to responsibly fulfil the need UK residents have for this new transport mode as an accessible, inexpensive and greener alternative to cars and public transport.”

Over the weekend, the company held a series of public education events for Milton Keynes residents to learn more about how to ride safely. Spin plans to hold safety and public engagement events in the next few weeks to raise awareness and ensure full compliance with local and national rules. 

The company also offers all riders access to Spin Safe Digital, an online learning resource that teaches riders how to start and end trips properly, parking techniques to ensure walkways are free of scooter clutter, and safe riding practices during COVID-19. Riders can receive a £5 discount if they take an online quiz testing them on the rules.

Cabinet member for sustainability Cllr Lauren Townsend said: “While the grid roads and general layout in MK helps to keep our air quality high, transport is undeniably one of the UK’s most polluting sectors. 

“We have ambitious plans to make MK a leading green city, and that includes showing other areas what can be achieved with a bit of innovation. It is great that we are home to the country’s first large scale e-scooter trial, following on from our track record with shared e-bikes and autonomous delivery robots.

“I hope lots of people give the e-scooters a try so we can learn what’s possible and share our findings with others.”

Brian Matthews, head of transport innovation at Milton Keynes Council added: “We are committed to bringing new and innovative transport solutions to Milton Keynes and are delighted to announce Spin as our first e-scooter operator. This safe, modern and efficient transport system will help meet the demands of our residents for more convenient and green modes of travel.”

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“An important new travel option for residents and visitors”

The council has also partnered with leading micromobility company Lime to launch an initial fleet of 250 e-scooters alongside its current e-bike service, which it has been running for 18 months. Lime has committed to providing a fleet of up to 500 of the company’s latest e-scooters for rental in the city based on expected demand. 

Council leader Cllr Pete Marland said: “At a time when residents are in need of safe, environmentally friendly and socially-distant means of transport, we’re thrilled to be the first UK city to provide this type of large e-scooter trial. 

Cllr Pete Marland, Milton Keynes Council leader.

“We are pleased to continue working with Lime and are looking forward to seeing the people of Milton Keynes take advantage of the on-street e-scooter service. This will provide an important new travel option to residents and visitors to Milton Keynes and we look forward to working with Lime to study the results from the trial”

Lime’s general manager UK& Ireland Florence Milner added: “We believe they will transform travel in Milton Keynes at a time when we’re in desperate need of alternatives to driving. We are thrilled that Milton Keynes Council have continued to show faith in the high quality services we provide. It was a highly competitive selection process so we are very pleased to have been selected to continue serving the people of Milton Keynes, as we have already done successfully for over 18 months.”

Lime is also bidding to provide e-scooter services to other towns and cities in the UK, she added.

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Transport Minister and MP back e-scooter trials

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Milton Keynes MP Ben Everitt has giving his backing to rolling out e-scooter trials in Milton Keynes after a meeting with Transport Minister Rachel Maclean.

The government is committed to leading a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and e-scooters could be a fast and clean way to travel that eases the burden on the transport network, he said.

MP Ben Everitt meets with Transport Minister Rachel Maclean.

Mr Everitt, MP for Milton Keynes North, said: “MK is a hub for futuristic, high tech innovation so I was really keen on discussing plans to bring e-scooters to MK with the Transport Minister.

“We already have our Starship robots delivering groceries nd we are leading the way with driverless car trials so it is only right MK should be at the forefront of trials for e-scooters which can help reduce emissions and lead a green recovery from coronavirus.”

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said, “E-scooters could revolutionise travel within our towns and cities, potentially offering cleaner, more efficient and more affordable travel.

“From E-scooter trials to increased electric chargepoints, we are investing in technology pilots in Milton Keynes, helping boost Britain’s green transport recovery, reducing emissions and improving air quality for all.”

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