Voi e-scooter trial in Portsmouth wins approval to keep running until at least March 2022
THE trial of e-scooters in Portsmouth will continue until at least the end of March, despite concerns there were still 'challenges' with the way some people ride them.
City council cabinet member for transport Lynne Stagg green lit the extension on Thursday and welcomed their use across the city as an alternative to cars.
'It's reassuring to know that so many people are embracing rental e-scooters as a more sustainable alternative to short car journeys, which can so often be avoided,' she said of the Voi-managed scheme.
'The trial extension will give us more time to expand and refine rack locations, giving people better access to shopping and leisure, and bus, train, and ferry links. It will also help us to continue to develop cleaner air and benefit the health of everyone who lives, visits, works, and studies here.'
Council studies found that more than half of journeys made on e-scooters since the trial began in March had replaced a trip by either car or taxi. Almost 30,000 people have used them.
However, more than 100 accidents involving their use have been recorded, 13 of which led to injuries requiring hospital treatment.
Councillor Simon Bosher, the leader of the council's Conservative group and its transport spokesman said he was 'not yet convinced' about their safety, although he supported the extension of the trial to allow more data to be collected.
He said many incidents involved private e-scooters without the safety features provided by Voi.
'There's a degree of inevitability that we are moving towards making e-scooters legal going forward,' he said.
'What the Voi scheme is demonstrating, or I hope it's demonstrating, is good behaviour on scooters that can be translated when we get to the private e-scooters because certainly Voi are getting tarred with the wrong brush.'
These concerns have been echoed by Cllr Stagg who said she was concerned there could be an influx of new private machines in the city given as Christmas gifts.
The extension will see the trial run through to the end of March although this could be pushed further back until November 2022.