A year-long trial has started today that will see Swedish firm Voi bring 50 electric scooters to Liverpool as part of a drive to boost sustainable transport in the city centre.
The pilot project, a joint initiative between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Liverpool City Council, will stretch across the city centre, extending from the waterfront to the Knowledge Quarter, Georgian Quarter and the Vauxhall area to the north of the city centre.
The scooters will cost £1 to unlock and then 20p a minute to use and can be hired using the Voi Scooters app.
Initially, the vehicles will only be available to users between 6am and 10pm.
The vehicles will travel at a maximum speed of 10mph, but their speed will be electronically restricted to around 5mph in areas with high footfall, according to the council.
Voi operates in 45 cities across 11 countries, predominantly in Germany and Scandinavia, but has recently launched other UK trials in Coventry and Birmingham, among others.
US-based Lime is to launch a similar initiative in Salford, providing e-scooters for university students to use when travelling between campuses, but no start date has yet been given for the trial.
Lime scooters can also be found in London and Milton Keynes.
Only e-scooters which are part of official trials are currently permitted by law. The use of private e-scooters is illegal in the UK.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I want our area’s transport network to be as cheap, quick and green as possible. E-scooters could offer residents and tourists a quick and convenient way to get around the city centre, as happens in many European cities.”
Cllr Sharon Connor, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “We want everyone to be able to travel in and around Liverpool as cleanly as possible – be it by walking or cycling – and we’re investing millions of pounds to help people do just that.”
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and chief executive of Voi Technology, said: “We urgently need new transport options, particularly as city residents want to get around with increased social distancing. Today’s transport innovations are all about helping people get out of their cars and make greener choices, while staying safe.”