New carbon-neutral, socially distanced mode of travel widely successful in town centre, one month after launching. Voi are offering NHS staff and Emergency Service workers free rides during the current COVID restrictions.
Since 10 December 2020, residents and visitors in Kettering have been able to hire e-scooters to circulate in town and the new mode of transport has proved immensely popular.
Within the first month of launching, over 6,700 rides have taken place, with an average ride length of 16 minutes. Approaching 1,200 users have signed up and are active. Nearly 12,000 km has been covered since December’s launch – testament to the success of the trial so far.
E-scooters offer a safe, accessible and convenient way to move around the town for absolutely essential journeys, while adhering to the national lockdown and social distancing rules currently in place.
With COVID cases still prevalent in the region and with a national lockdown, e-scooters will help take the pressure off Kettering public transport while enabling key workers to make essential journeys without having to resort to their car, reducing congestion and pollution.
There are currently up to 80 scooters available to rent in Kettering from 04am to 11pm. The fleet size has been increased recently due to the strong demand. To ride a scooter, users need to be 18 years old and over, are required to download the Voi app, available for free on Apple App Store or Google Play, and have to present a valid driving license.
It costs £1 to unlock the scooter and then £0.20 per minute of usage. Voi also offers 24-hour (at £10) and 30-day (at £40) subscriptions, allowing users to take an unlimited number of rides at a fixed rate. Voi also offers discounts for students, those on low income and NHS and Emergency workers.
Jason Smithers, Cabinet Member for Highways and Place for Northamptonshire County Council said:
This is a very exciting scheme for Northamptonshire - we were chosen by the government to be one of the first trial areas for e-scooters and the fact that we have been able to extend this into Kettering town is fantastic.
“The trials in Northampton and Kettering are already proving to be a real boost in improving access to greener, more sustainable and affordable transport while offering more choice on how to travel.
“Their popularity in both town centres is testament to this – and we are continuing to listen to feedback while working alongside Voi to ensure we are constantly making improvements and helping it run as smoothly as possible.
“Of course, rider safety is our number one concern and, with this in mind, we ask that users adhere to the new lockdown rules from central government, using the e-scooters only for essential journeys at the present time.”
Rochelle Mathieson, Head of Commercial & Economic Development at Kettering Borough Council, said:
It’s great to see that the e-scooters have improved the way residents and visitors get around the area and that the uptake has been so high. Among the many benefits of introducing this new form of transport, this initiative also provides a greener alternative for travel in and around the town, which is a fantastic resource during these unprecedented times. We hope more residents and visitors to the town will benefit from this new venture.”
Richard Corbett, Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said:
We are happy to see how Kettering residents are embracing e-scooters to move around in a socially distanced manner. E-scooters offer flexibility and they are a great alternative to short car journeys. Under the current pandemic, we know on important it is for key workers to be able to move around town safely, that is why we have decided to reinstate our free rides to support NHS staff and Emergency Service workers while the current COVID restrictions are in place.”
Polly Grimmett, Director of Strategy at Kettering General Hospital, said:
It is great news that VOI is offering free rides to NHS workers during the current COVID restrictions. We are looking forward to working closely with VOI over the coming months to develop the e-scooter service as a real alternative for people to consider as part of our broader plans to encourage greener, cleaner ways to access our site.”
Rider safety information
Safety is Voi’s number one priority. Voi’s e-scooters are cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours to ensure that they cannot become a source of infection. In addition, Voi e-scooters are fitted with copper tape that inactivates and minimises the transmission of coronavirus. Voi also provides COVID-19 advice and information via the app and encourages its users to use hand sanitiser and wear gloves.
Introducing e-scooters as safely as possible is the company’s number one priority, and Voi’s operations exceed the safety requirements required by the Government. For instance, Voi e-scooter speeds will be capped at 10 miles per hour. The Company has also been working with the relevant local authorities to create geofenced slow riding, no riding and mandatory parking areas, to ensure the safety of riders and other road users. Whilst not mandatory, the use of helmets when riding the e-scooters is advised.
E-scooters are a new mode of transport, and therefore, Voi will work alongside local authorities to educate riders through online and offline educational campaigns. Riders will also be encouraged to complete Voi’s digital e-scooter traffic school #RideLikeVoila, the world’s first certified digital traffic school, where they can learn how to ride a scooter safely.
Voi will continue to work closely with local authorities to guarantee a successful trial phase, including addressing the safety concerns and needs of other road users, especially vulnerable groups. Close planning and collaboration with the local police force will also go a long way to ensuring the safety and viability of the trial over the 12-month period.