Extension to E-bike and E-scooter trials reinforce Mayor’s Active Travel Commitment

Plans to extend electric scooter (e-scooter) and electric bike (e-bike) trials across Cambridge and Peterborough received the green light from members from Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority board today (29 September).

Recommendations to extend the ongoing e-scooter trial in Cambridge until March 2022, to continue learnings received approval, as did recommendations to expand the e-bike network outside the trial areas of Cambridge and Peterborough, and into market towns and other rural areas in the region to provide an alternative mode of transport to the car.

Trials of the ultra-low emissions modes of transport in Cambridge and Peterborough are part of a studies, which is being carried out by the Combined Authority in partnership with micro mobility operator Voi Technologies.

E-scooters were first launched in Cambridge in October 2020 as part of a 12-month trial. E-bikes were then added to the service for Cambridge and Peterborough in January 2021. Both trials have the objective to get people to think differently about how they travel from A to B in the two cities and connect with other public transport options.

Emerging trends have enabled the Combined Authority and Voi to better understand the habits of e-scooter and e-bike users. Information gathered has shown the total number of journeys completed on the 300 active e-bikes alone total 65,975kms, (that’s the equivalent of traveling between Cambridge and Glasgow over 182 times) helping Cambridge and Peterborough move towards targets to improve air quality through ultra-low emission and to provide a cleaner and healthier environment to live and work in.

The trial for e-scooters has received similar interest with 700 active e-scooters in use across the city each week. They have raised some expected learning and challenges, particularly around public safety, pavement riding, parking and street clutter. These aren’t unique to Cambridge and have been reflected in 31 other areas across the country, also taking part in similar trials.

Having received approval to extend the e-scooter trial until March 2022, officers from the Combined Authority will continue to work with Voi and County and City Council colleagues to capture learnings before feeding back to the Department of Transport.

Ahead of the approval to expand the e-bike network, some initial calculation of cost for implement has been completed and comparisons have been made to similar schemes in other regions. Officers will now collaborate with Cambridgeshire County Council, Greater Cambridge Partnership, district councils, and local cycling groups to develop the right network to help connect cyclists to travel hubs for onward journeys and main centres, providing access to work and to social and leisure activities.

Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said:

“Approval of the recommendations today, shows a clear commitment by the Combined Authority to provide a network of greener, active travel-based transport options for communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“It’s important that we all change the way we think about local transport options and the use of an e-bike and e-scooter could, where appropriate, provide a valuable ultra-low emission alternative for the first and last mile of our journeys.

“As a children’s doctor, I know the effects that air pollution has on young people’s health, and I’ve been shocked to see Cambridge City giving warnings for people exercising outside due to the levels of air pollution. I’m committed to finding solutions that will improve air quality, particularly within our towns and cities. And I’m convinced that electric modes of transport, like e-bikes and e-scooters, provide the key as we look to not only reduce the impact on our climate, but to improve the health of people living in this region.

“We will of course be looking into concerns around public safety issues raise and the need for greater regulation for e-scooters, particularly around pavement riding, parking and street clutter. We will work with Voi and County and City Council colleagues to introduce solutions in Cambridge and share this knowledge in supporting submission being made to the Department of Transport.”

Jack Samler, General Manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said:
“It has been a pleasure to work with the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority to bring our e-scooters and e-bikes to the region so more people can ditch their cars in favour of more sustainable modes of transport. So far over 342,000 e-scooter and e-bike rides have been taken in the region reducing an estimated 109,000 short car trips.

“We are delighted to see our trial period extended and we are committed to delivering a service that continues to benefit everyone in the local community while continuing to have the safety of our riders, pedestrians, and all other road users as our top priority.”