With Miles of Planned Cycle Lanes, Newcastle Will See Benefits of New E-scooter Trial Scheme with Measured Rollout – Steve Pyer, UK Country Manager, Spin (A subsidiary of Ford Motor Company)
As part of the Department of Transport’s national e-scooter trials, Newcastle City Council is soon to decide upon which operator will manage a trial in the city. The council is looking to reduce the number of car journeys, tackling both road congestion and air quality. E-scooters can meet these challenges, providing a new, convenient and green way to travel. According to Uswitch, out of the UK’s 40 most populous cities, Newcastle tops the charts as one of the most ‘e-scootable’ locations, due to 13km of planned cycle lanes.
There is already evidence of the shift from people driving cars in Milton Keynes, where we have been successfully operating since August. We saw 18,000 journeys in the first 6 weeks, and research we conducted among 500 Milton Keynes Spin riders found a clear shift from car usage. 63% of Spin riders said they have replaced a single passenger car trip with an e-scooter trip and 38% that their most recent e-scooter trip replaced a drive-alone, carshare, or Uber/taxi.
This is an exceptionally rapid rate of adoption and transport mode shift, which could soon be a reality for Newcastle.
In order to achieve a genuinely sustainable, safe and successful e-scooter hire trial, a community-centred, consultative approach is paramount. E-scooter providers must roll out fleets responsibly — with public safety and tailored city programmes as top priorities.
We pride ourselves on working with local authorities and residents to tailor schemes to their unique infrastructure and ensure safe riding and parking. Schemes always work best when they reflect the ambitions and priorities of local decision-makers and their communities.
Some of the most important ways e-scooter hire providers should work with councils and their communities to rethink their micromobility services include:
Spin takes e-scooter safety seriously. Operators must ensure that they provide continual learning for riders, educating them on how to use the vehicles safely while remaining respectful of other road users.
With Spin, all new riders are required to view a comprehensive set of rules and instructions before they can take their first ride. We also offer all riders access to Spin Safe Digital and will host physical Spin Safe events once public gathering restrictions are lifted and they can be run in a way that protects users.
The app is also customised for each individual city’s rules and needs. For example, Newcastle City Council has already been developing temporary walking and cycling routes, which were in higher demand after lockdown restrictions were introduced, which would show on our in-app map.
Our app also gives advice on good parking and rewards good behaviour — offering users credit for undertaking a regular quiz on safe practice and compliance.
Managing rider behaviour effectively means having a safe system that enforces it where possible. With rigorous planning and GPS technology, systems can be created that can limit scooter use or speed, based on a spatial area, such as in a central pedestrianised zone.
No-riding geofences can also be developed that are visible in-app — if a rider does venture into this area, an audible message from the scooter will tell them they are in a prohibited zone and the scooter will then gently decelerate until it comes to a stop. The same goes for a no-parking zone, the scooter won’t allow the rider to end their trip until they have moved into an assigned parking area.
A new way to travel
The ongoing success of our trial in Milton Keynes shows the positive impact that can happen when micromobility providers and local councils work in close collaboration to implement specific guidelines and technology to minimise misuse. As a global e-scooter service provider it is our responsibility to do everything we can to raise awareness of safe riding practices and to ensure riders comply with local and national rules.
As the Council develops its e-scooter scheme, we look forward to the opportunity to share our ideas on how Spin can serve the residents of Newcastle, and in turn develop a dependable and reliable service that gives communities a more sustainable, fun and greener way to travel.