Swedish-founded electronic scooter brand Voi is to put its first fleet of e-scooters on UK streets after being selected to run an exclusive e-scooter trial for Cambridge and provide its ‘micro-mobility’ services across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region.
The firm said the council is looking to encourage active travel in line with the national government initiative to reduce the burden on the public transport network while Cambridgeshire citizens start going back to work.
Voi said it will put its first e-scooters into Cambridge by September and the operator will work closely with local transport providers, including train and bus operators in the cities. The initial trial will last for 12 months.
The contract means the Swedish e-scooter provider is now live in more than 45 cities in 11 countries.
Voi said as part of the trial 50 full-time equivalent jobs will be created in the city.
Across the UK more than 50 councils and regional authorities are putting in place e-scooter pilots, which can run for 12 months.
Cities including Liverpool, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Southampton were amongst those to express interest in running a pilot.
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said people are keen to swap their car for a greener alternative.
“Cities that are serious about cutting pollution and congestion see that this is a huge opportunity to introduce a mode of transport that can radically improve how we get around urban areas,” he said.
“We can’t wait to get started in Cambridgeshire which has some of the best cycling infrastructure in the UK making it an ideal location to launch this revolutionary transport.”
Mayor James Palmer, the leader of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, added: “This year has seen a 27% drop in carbon emissions and a 200% increase in cycling, with people enjoying soaring air quality and fitter lifestyles, the benefits to moving away from cars and buses are clear and our investment shows we are committed to rolling out a fully integrated active travel network for our region.”
The firm is rolling out Shieldex Copper-Tape tape on handlebars, designed to kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, and said scooters are disinfected every 24 hours. Voi is also providing COVID-19 information and advice in its app.
Richard Corbett, UK GM of Voi Technology said the company estimates 1 in 5 of short car journeys across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region could be replaced by low-carbon e-scooters.
“As normal life resumes across the UK and people return to workplaces and shops, the need for quick, convenient and covid-safe transport is increasing. Cars no longer suit the way we live now. 60% of car journeys in the UK are between 1 to 3 miles, significantly adding to congestion,” said Corbett.