Fredrik Hjelm, Co-Founder and CEO of VOI Technology discusses the future of public transport and the rise of the e-scooter!
This week a huge step has been made in the UK as the DfT has updated legislation paving the way for cities to trial for e scooter operators and thus legalising e scooters. The last few years we have been proactively pushing for sound legislation at a city level so that micro-mobility can become a safe and sustainable mode of transport in urban areas. We have seen countries and cities reacting differently, with French cities being very tender focused, whereas Germany and the Nordics are not quite there..yet. We believe in the tender approach and we actively support cities should they decide to opt for this approach. From our side, we have worked diligently to improve the lifespan of our e scooters, going from a few weeks to a minimum of a few years, as well as slimming down our operational costs — allowing us to be able to operate the most efficient fleet in our industry.
I welcome the Government’s publication this week of framework legislation for e-scooter pilots and urges local authorities not to miss the opportunity to give their residents new transport options. I feel confident when I say that, by the end of the year a fifth of rides could replace cars on jammed UK streets.
Currently, 60% of all car trips in the UK ( and for that matter in most European cities) are between 1 and 5km making them very suitable for e-scooters. Switching from car to e-scooter for short journeys would help tackle the world’s climate change crisis, as well as reducing congestion and pollution from cars on UK streets. In Finland, when e-scooters were introduced earlier this year, 41% of respondents to a survey said they had taken a scooter instead of a taxi ride or private car. Almost one in five commuters said they had used an e-scooter for a business trip.
Being crammed into tight carriages on public transport is no longer an inconvenience, it’s a health risk. While the alternative — getting in the car — is a disaster for our cities and will reverse all the progress we have made in improving air quality. Yesterday I read a rather disturbing article in the Evening Standard stating that Londoners planned to ditch the tube for their car for trips into the city. Surely this cannot be the way forward?
Just as technology in the form of contact tracing will help us emerge from lockdown, tech in the form of shared e-scooters can help us get back to something like normal life in the coming months.
We have operated throughout the crisis in certain cities in Scandinavia, providing a safe transport choice for key workers, grocery shopping and charitable initiatives.
Across Europe we are seeing take-up climb as people return to work and we’re seeing significant changes in scooter usage.
People are more likely to use scooters in the suburbs and their journeys are longer. They are no longer taking place around tourist areas or scenic routes but between hospitals, supermarkets, stations and supermarkets. These are journeys that riders have to make.
The opportunity to give people a safe, reliable choice in the way that they travel is why we welcome the UK government’s decision to accelerate the introduction of e-scooters in the UK and begin pilots in cities across the country.
Originally published at https://www.siliconroundabout.org.uk.