Portsmouth Voi scooter scheme to be extended until May 2024

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THE trial e-scooter scheme in Portsmouth will continue until at least May 2024 after the city council approved an 18-month extension.

Cabinet member for transport Lynne Stagg agreed the move on Thursday, welcoming the increased use of the Voi equipment which, she said, was reducing dependence on cars.

But she called on the government to introduce legislation around their use to improve safety, particularly around the use of private machines.

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Voi users unlocking their ridesVoi users unlocking their rides
Voi users unlocking their rides

'When there's legislation controlling e-scooters - not just Voi but also private ones - we'll have a change [in perception],' she said. 'There will be some people who are dead against e-scooters whatever.

'But they're going to be here forever, or until the next phase of technology comes along.'

The government said it is looking at bringing in rules around the use of e-scooters, most recently extending its trial to May 31, 2024 to consider proposals.

In a letter to local authorities, the Department for Transport said trials ‘have significant value’ as it works to bring in legislation legalising their use under plans to create a new ‘low-speed zero-emission’ vehicle category.

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'With more evidence coming from all over the country, I hope the Department for Transport comes up with legislation,' Cllr Stagg added.

'You can't just build a car that is rubbish and will fall into pieces, you need to have something that's quite solid and that's one of the things about the Voi e-scooters: they are sturdy.

'But we have also got to get people behaving properly.'

Data collected by Voi as part of the Portsmouth trial showed there had been 252 accidents involving the use of their e-scooters up to September 15. Most are classed as minor although it said 24 were ‘serious’.

Concerns were raised around the findings of a survey through which most respondents said they had a negative view of the scheme although councillors said this was because the survey was voluntary and that people more favourable towards e-scooters were less likely to take part.

Almost 60,000 different people have used Voi e-scooters in Portsmouth since the launch of the scheme last year with more than 400,000 rides completed in total.