E-scooter usage forecast to grow as trial extended across five Essex areas

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E-scooter trials in five Essex towns and cities are being extended for another year to allow for more evidence to be gathered as part of planning for their role in the future of sustainable transport.

Figures show that Spin Mobility scooters – the only ones legally permitted on Essex roads – made around £700,000 over the 1,520 days covering the period of the trials up to October 21 2021.

Spin forecasts its turnover will increase to more than £1.2 million by trialling over a total of 2,340 days to November 30, 2022 – an increase from an average of around £462 a day to £520 a day.

Initially trials were expected to operate until October 31 2021 but the Department for Transport requested for trials in Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford and Colchester be extended until November 30, 2022 to allow for the collection of more evidence of their safety.

The request has been agreed by Essex County Council (ECC).

Popularity of the scheme varies across the different areas taking part. Chelmsford and Colchester are each expected to account for more than £450,000 of Spin’s turnover for the next 390 days while Brentwood and Braintree will each account for around £1,000.

The e-scooter scheme has been deemed successful though with 577,735 rides being made by over 51,650 individual riders since its launch in December 2020.

Trials so far show that 82 per cent of users took an e-scooter instead of driving alone in a car.

But the DfT is also keen for Spin to provide sufficient numbers of scooters in the right places amidst concerns that when hire e-scooters are removed from locations this will see an increase in the use of illegal personal e-scooters.

A statement to ECC cabinet said: “Schemes have already delivered mode shifts. We need to understand more about this shift and how e-scooters can deliver more.

“COVID meant many launches were delayed and most schemes have only been running for around nine months or less.

“To make an evidence-based decision on the future of e-scooters and their role in the future of sustainable transport, we need more robust data on types of journeys undertaken, demographics, suitability of mode in different weather conditions, the value of discount initiatives, and opportunities to trialling new technology.

“Essex has been selected by the Department of Transport as a focus area for more in-depth evidence gathering. DfT are keen that we extend.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter