Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the e-scooter trial taking place in Cambridge?
To support a ‘green’ restart of local travel and help mitigate reduced public transport capacity, in July 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) made regulations allowing trials of rental e-scooters to be fast tracked and expanded.
At the time, e-scooters offered a way of travelling and remain socially distanced during the pandemic. Now, e-scooters offer a convenient, clean and inexpensive way to travel.
They are particularly useful for connecting the last or first mile of travel, when there can be a temptation to use a car or taxi and for journeys of 1 to 3 miles, which make up 60% of all road trips in the U.K. Our aim is that e-scooter use should be affordable, particularly for those who need to go farther than they can walk and don’t have access to a car.
What are the main benefits of e-scooters for Cambridge?
- Gets people out of cars
- Provides convenient, affordable and flexible travel of point-to-point journeys, or for the first or last mile to public transport
- Lowers environment footprint, with huge potential to improve quality and reduce climate change
How does the trial work?
DfT oversees the e-scooter trials with local authorities of trial areas being responsible for their day to day management. In Cambridge, the Combined Authority works with Voito operate the rental scheme.
Who are Voi?
Voi is the fastest-growing European micro-mobility operator working with Europe’s cities to offer efficient, affordable transportation solutions, including e-scooters. Founded in 2018, Voi currently operates in 110 + cities in 11 countries.
Where can the rental e-scooters be used?
The rental e-scooters can be used on roads, cycleways, and in Cambridge. They are permitted to follow the cycle signage unless stated otherwise.
The trial area in Cambridge is set by a ‘geofence’ which is a technology that uses GPS to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.
When a scooter goes beyond a certain boundary, the e-scooter’s speed will reduce gradually and come to a stop. Users can see their locations and operating zone in the in-app map.
Slow zones may be used where there are areas of high pedestrian footfall and no ride zones may be applied to grass areas of parks to avoid damage to them.
Where can the rental e-scooters be parked?
The app sets out parking zones and shows the availability of the parking zone. Once you park you will be asked to take a photo, this helps Voi verify that the e-scooter has been correctly parked .
For those without the app, parking zones can be viewed here
Reporting a parking zone
We consider the location of a parking zone carefully, being mindful that it should have sufficient space to not impede pedestrians and in an area that can be accessed by a rider. Sometimes we don’t get this balance right and you can report a problem by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recommending a Parking Zone
Whilst the operational area is ;strictly defined by the parameters of the trial including the number of e-scooters in the fleet, we would welcome any local intelligence of appropriate potential locations. Please contract email@example.com
If you are a business or organisation that is looking to encourage a sustainable way to travel to your work and would like to host a parking zone on your land please fill in this form to suggest a parking spot https://form.jotform.com/230523910816047
Are private e-scooters permitted during the trial?
No, only rental e-scooters are permitted to be used during the trial.
Are private e-scooters illegal?
Privately owned e-scooters can only be used on private land with the landowners permission.
Using a private e-scooter illegal could result in a fine and penalty points, and the e-scooter could be impounded.
What is the speed of a rental e-scooter?
The maximum speed is 12.5mph, however, the maximum speed can be lowered via the app by users. This can be helpful if a user is new to riding an e-scooter.
Do riders need a driving license?
Yes. To ride an e-scooter in a pilot area, a rider will need a provisional or full driving licence
What is the minimum age to ride an e-scooter?
In Cambridge, you need to be at least 18-years-old to ride an e-scooter
When are the e-scooters operational?
Rental e-scooters in Cambridge are operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How do riders start using an e-scooter?
To get started, a user needs to download the Voi app from the App Store or Google Play to create an account, upload an image of their driving licence, verify their identity and complete a short online safety course. A user can locate an available scooter in the app. When the user is standing next to the scooter, they can unlock it with the app. Visit www.voi.com for further information.
What does it cost to use a Voi e-scooter?
Check the Voi app for the most up to date prices.
There are also special rates for students, NHS and emergency service personnel, and those on low incomes.
Do riders need to wear a helmet?
You should wear a cycle helmet when using an e-scooter. Helmets are recommended but are not a legal requirement.
Make sure that your cycle helmet conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and is securely fastened.
Wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing so that other road users can see you in daylight, poor light and in the dark.
Do riders need insurance whilst using the rental e-scooters?
E-scooters must have motor insurance, but you do not need to arrange this as this will be provided by your e-scooter rental operator.
Riding with care, what riders should know
- Understand the rules of the road before setting off and start off slowly while you get used to the e-scooter
- Only use the rental e-scooters and once finished your ride park them neatly in the parking hub area to avoid obstructing others
- Rental e-scooters should be ridden by one person only
- Rental e-scooters are permitted on the road, cycle lanes and busways, but not on pavements
- Consider the e-scooter as a vehicle, therefore, you should not ride whilst using your mobile phone (you are permitted to use a mobile for navigation – but set this before starting your journey). Or whilst drunk or otherwise intoxicated
- Comply with the terms and conditions to the rental op9erator
How can riders improve their skills?
The app contains lots of helpful hints, tips and training, including #RideLikeVoila – Learn how to ride scooter safe and earn free Voi rides
During the year, a number of in person safety sessions are held by Voi, so please keep an eye out for those opportunities to really hone those e-scooter skills.
How can rider behaviour or incidents be reported?
If you see a Voi e-scooter being operated in an unsafe manner please report it either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: +44 7476 550190 or web: report.voi.com. Each Voi scooter has an ID number – much like a number plate, if you can quote this it helps them identify the user otherwise, knowing the time and location can also help identify the user and for Voi to take action.
What action is taken if riders don’t operate the rental e-scooters in a safe and considerate way?
In Cambridge there are ongoing educational initiatives to ensure its riders understand how to ride safely, obey the Highway Code and understand the terms of conditions of the trial. It’s important to highlight that e-scooters are classified by DfT as a motor vehicle and therefore riders need to follow the rules or they can be fined by the police and face penalty points on their licence.
Reporting rider behaviour to Voi can lead to warnings or strikes being issued to riders. If a rider undertakes a serious offence or receives three strikes they are banned from the service.
How can I report a wrongly parked rental e-scooter?
You can report a wrongly parked rental e-scooter via the Voi website, report.voi.com and clicking on ‘help’ which brings up topics, including reporting a wrongly parked rental e-scooter. Please fill out the form as this will be communicated directly to the Voi operations team so they can take action quickly.
How does Voi work with the local police force?
Local police forces have been briefed on all aspects of the service prior to launch, and Voi’s local operations in Cambridge are working with city centre police to ensure safety.
What do Voi and the Combined Authority do to keep streets safe from e-scooter clutter?
We work together to make sure there are clearly designated parking areas for e-scooters, through technology and incentives. Voi manages its fleet daily to make sure that it is not causing clutter and are able to quickly identify any problem areas where we can look at initiatives to prevent it happening in the first place.
What does Voi do to keep Cambridge safe for those with visual impairments or hearing difficulties?
- At a national level, Voi is working closely with associations representing those with sight loss, including the RNIB, Guide Dogs and the Thomas Pocklington Trust to ensure that it understands the needs of as many vulnerable people as possible. As a result of those conversations, the sector has published advice for e-scooter operators and local authorities participating in trials. This advice is considered for all Voi operations.
- Voi held briefings for local branches of inclusivity groups prior to service launch and discussions are ongoing.
- Based on consultations with groups representing disabled road users, Voi has added additional content to Ride Like Voila (Voi’s online traffic school) and its app to educate riders about the safety of disabled road users, including how to best park a scooter so it can be detected by visually impaired person using a white cane.
How does Voi stop people from riding on the pavement?
Riding on pavement is illegal in the U.K. – unless it is a shared pedestrian and cycle path – and education plays an important role in making sure that users abide by the rules. Voi’s free online traffic school, Ride Like Voila, teaches users the rules of the road and rewards users with ride vouchers when they complete modules. Voi actively communicates to riders that they should never ride on pavement throughout their journey, from in-app communications during the onboarding flow through to ongoing road safety communications.
How does Voi prevent people from riding while intoxicated?
Users have a huge responsibility, not only towards themselves but towards other road users and pedestrians. Voi believes that education is a powerful tool, such as the Ride Like Voila e-scooter traffic school. Voi has developed an in-app reaction-time test that is activated during certain hours of the day when people are likely to be imbibing. The test aims to educate users on why drunk riding is unsafe (impacts reflexes, balance, overall judgement), and to encourage them to consider alternative modes of transport if they get poor results in the cognitive test.
Are e-scooters really good for the environment?
Transport is Europe’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution levels exceed safe levels in many European cities. Like other electric vehicles, e-scooters can help to limit transport emissions as well as reducing congestion in cities. The U.K. is particularly suitable for e-scooters because 60% of car trips here are for 1- to 3-mile journeys. Improvements to e-scooters, which now last a minimum of 60 months, mean that each scooter’s lifecycle cost is 71% lower than it was when the last major assessment was done in California two years ago.
How sustainable are Voi’s e-scooters?
- Voi’s e-scooters are a safe, sustainable choice of transportation. They are zero-emissions vehicles.
- Voi’s full environmental report is here https://www.voi.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Voi-Vision-Statement-2022.pdf
Are e-scooters making a difference in getting people out of their cars?
To date (June 2023) in Cambridge, there have been 2.3 million rides on Voi’s e-scooters and e-bikes.
Voi runs bi-annual (summer and winter) surveys where it asks users in Cambridgeshire what mode of transportation they would have taken if they did not take an e-bike or e-scooter on their last trip, and uses this to inform modal shift statistics. The summary of this shows that 33% of trips would have been taken by private or rental car (taxi or car share) instead.
- CO2e reduction in tonnes: 350
- Air quality PM2.5 reduction in kg: 70
- Car trips replaced: 825,000