E-scooter and e-bike hire company Voi is calling on the Government to set a clear date for legislation to secure the future of the industry, warning otherwise it risks losing jobs and investment.
Voi is the largest e-scooter hire company in the UK operating across 18 e-scooter and e-bike markets. Two out of three shared e-scooter rides are on Voi scooters across the UK trials.
Shared e-scooter schemes are run as trials set up by the Government to provide a new form of sustainable, easy to use and affordable transport to help local authorities reach their net zero targets.
Two-and-a-half years after setting up its first scheme, Voi has seen nearly 1.2 million people take 21.5 million rides, which it says has replaced more than eight million car journeys, and calculates this has generated more than £50 million across local economies in the cities Voi operates in the UK in 2022 alone.
But “gains made by the micromobility industry could be put at risk if the Government is unable to give greater clarity about when legislation will be brought forward”, warned Matthew Pencharz, Head of Public Policy for Voi UK, Ireland and Netherlands, when he appeared before the Transport Select Committee.
“Almost three years after the trials were first started, the demand for e-scooters is proven with Voi alone having 21m rides, replacing over 8m car journeys.
“However, the industry doesn’t have certainty after May next year when the trials are currently due to end.
“Legislation will allow more cities and towns to use e-scooters as a sustainable method of transport for their communities, providing a firmer footing for the industry and the jobs and investment connected with it,” he said.
Voi complains that the UK is one of the only countries in Europe which subjects e-scooters to the same levels of regulation as cars, despite e-scooters being a fraction of the size, weight, power, and speed of motor cars. it wants a new vehicle category “to eliminate the need for all riders to have either provisional or full driving licences, opening up micromobility to more riders”.
It also wants the insurance required to be brought in line with e-bike regulation which it claims would enable insurance companies to create policies better suited to e-scooters. Currently operators must provide Motor Third Party Liability insurance, as for all motor vehicles.
Voi also wants Government guidance updated to provide a more detailed framework on the management of e-scooter schemes, detailing the need for set governance structures, data driven decision making and clear goals at the local level.
(Picture – Voi)