Voi wins first large-scale exclusive e-scooter UK trial


The race to roll out e-scooters across the UK is hotting up, with Voi the latest contender to be claiming a lead as it announces what it calls the UK’s first large-scale, exclusive trial – in association with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The UK’s Department for Transport fired the starting gun on e-scooter trials last month when it brought forward plans to begin pilots this new form of micromobility, previously outlawed in the nation, in order to address the growing need for alternative transport modes to help enable social distancing, while keeping car numbers low.

Izzy Schaw Miller on the Voi e-scooter in Cambridge ©Matthew Power Photography

Swedish-founded Voi is the only e-scooter operator selected for the university city of Cambridge, renowned for its world class academic institutions and love of micro-mobility, as the council looks to encourage active travel in line with the national government initiative to reduce the burden on the public transport network while Cambridgeshire citizens start going back to work.

Voi will put the first of its distinctive coral e-scooters into Cambridge by September and the operator will work closely with local transport providers, including train and bus operators in the cities. The initial trial will last for 12 months, and is expected to create over 50 jobs.

With this exclusive contract win, the Swedish e-scooter provider is now live in more than 45 cities in 11 countries.

Void rides in Cambridge will cost  £1 to unlock + £0.20 per minute, or at a subscription rate of £10 a day/£40 a month, alongside subsidised Voi-4-All Passes for low income groups at £10 per month. Key workers will be supported with free rides as will local businesses, if they are using the scooters to offer, or extend, delivery services. To get started, users can visit the Voi web page or download the Voi app.

“We are delighted to announce that Cambridge, the world’s most renowned city for innovation and technology, will be the first place in the UK where people can use a Voi e-scooter and enjoy the benefits of this liberating new form of transport,” says Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology. “People are keen to get out of their cars and want greener transport choices. Cities that are serious about cutting pollution and congestion see that this is a huge opportunity to introduce a mode of transport that can radically improve how we get around urban areas.”

“We can’t wait to get started in Cambridgeshire which has some of the best cycling infrastructure in the UK making it an ideal location to launch this revolutionary transport. We are seeing the biggest change in the way people travel in a hundred years and Voi is here to help the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority bring about this huge shift in culture and travel habits, to the benefit of both cities and their residents.”

“Electric bikes and scooters have the potential to revolutionise travel and I am delighted that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will be the first region in the country to make both available to the public so they can enjoy quicker, healthier journeys,” says Mayor James Palmer, the leader of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA). “This year has seen a 27% drop in carbon emissions and a 200% increase in cycling, with people enjoying soaring air quality and fitter lifestyles, the benefits to moving away from cars and buses are clear and our investment shows we are committed to rolling out a fully integrated active travel network for our region.”

On average, 106 deaths per year in the Greater Cambridge region alone can be attributed to air pollution. The partnership between Voi and the CPCA will aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 395 metric tones across the region by August 2021.

Within the first three months of operation, Voi will assess and present recommendations to the CPCA on any additional infrastructure requirements for e-scooters, based on user feedback and user journey data, including feedback from disability group associations such as RNIB and Disabilities Move UK.

It is also committed to upholding the CPCA’s health and safety policy to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the region. Voi is rolling out Shieldex Copper-Tape tape on handlebars, designed to kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, and all scooters are disinfected every 24 hours. Voi is also providing Covid-19 information and advice in its app.

As part of the trial, Voi will also integrate with Iomob, an app that allows customers to sign up and pay for their transport choices in one place. Other transport partnerships are being put in place.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).