Sunderland City Council will begin its e-scooter rental trial today with the first of 300 distinctive orange e-scooters being deployed across the city.
The 12-month trial, operated by Neuron Mobility in partnership with the City Council, is aimed at “providing the city with a safe, socially-distanced and environmentally-friendly transport option for those that must travel”.
To kick off the trial — and to respond to Covid-19 — Neuron is providing free monthly passes to NHS and emergency services staff, redeemable through the rates and passes section of the Neuron app, said the council.
During the first three months the company will also offer free rides for commuters between 5am to 9am every weekday. As the Covid-19 situation improves there will also be more offers, such as for university students and people on lower incomes.
Sunderland’s launch follows a Newcastle launch and so e-scooter fleets are now available at both ends of the Tyne & Wear Metro. Leisure travellers and commuters travelling between the two cities will be able to take advantage of this sustainable travel option to complement their journey at both ends.
The e-scooters are GPS-enabled and Neuron and the City Council will use Geofencing technology to control where they are ridden and parked, and how fast they can travel in certain areas by creating slow zones, no-ride zones and no-parking zones. Each e-scooter will be fitted with a unique license plate for easy identification and to promote responsible use.
Neuron is deploying a dedicated safety team as part of the trial. They are armed with hospital-grade disinfectant to keep e-scooters and helmets completely clean and germ-free. Teams will be moving e-scooters to where they are needed most, assisting new riders with signing up on the app, and will deliver practical tips for safe riding.