The first trial of e-scooters anywhere in the UK will take place across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool thanks to a successful campaign by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen – with the pilot rolling out later this month.
The announcement by Mayor Houchen comes just days after Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps MP changed the legal status of e-scooters which are currently banned on roads and pavements in the UK under existing traffic laws.
The mayor has teamed up with Ginger, a UK based e-scooter company who have great experience of working with local communities to deliver innovative, clean transport solutions to deliver the trial.
The change in legislation means e-scooters which are part of the trial will be permitted where bikes are allowed, on roads, cycle lanes and tracks where possible. Draft legislation implies that riders must be over 16 years old, have at least a provisional driving licence and that helmets are highly recommended with details of the local pilot currently being finalised.
Mayor Houchen had previously called on the Government to make the region a trial area to determine whether the battery-powered vehicles could be used more widely, as a clean energy, socially distanced alternative to other forms of transport following the coronavirus outbreak.
Plans are now well advanced on where the e-scooters will be located across every Local Authority area with 100 e-scooters initially involved in the trial.
At the start of the trial each parking location will be strictly geo-fenced so users must leave their e-scooters in these locations at the end of the ride, with Ginger responsible for the charging of scooters. As the trial progresses Ginger will look at introducing on-street charging and docking locations.
Mayor Houchen said: “Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are leading the UK in new, clean and innovate technologies. E-scooters are a part of that.
“I have been a big fan of e-scooters for a very long time, and when the Government announced their plans to fast track their introduction, it was obvious that our region should be the first trial area.
“So, I am thrilled that the UKs first trail on e-scooters on UK roads will take place across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“Today’s move shows that Government is just as passionate as I am about clean innovative forms of travel and making e-scooters widely available as a clean energy, socially distant mode of transport which will help get our workers moving safely again and give our businesses a boost following the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has been fantastic working with a forward-thinking company like Ginger to make this trial a reality, and to be able to do it in such a short period of time shows just how committed they are to making e-scooters more widely used.
“I am also pleased that by working together we have been able to make using e-scooters cost effective with the price of a ride competitive with other forms of public transport.”
“We are already a forward-thinking region, at the forefront of clean energy and developing the technologies of the future with the Net Zero Teesside carbon capture, storage and utilisation scheme. Thanks to this decision, we’ve been rightly recognised for our innovation and in how we can lead the UK in doing things differently.”
Paul Hodgins, CEO of Ginger, said “I am delighted to be introducing Ginger e-scooters to the Tees Valley as part of the pioneering Government scheme to trial this exciting new form of transport.
“I strongly believe micro e-mobility offers unique solutions to today’s transport challenges. It is great that the Tees Valley Mayor and the Transport Secretary are making this public pilot the first in the UK, choosing to work with Ginger, a British innovator and transport provider.”