Salford presses start on e-scooter trial

Salford City Council is to trial an e-scooter rental scheme as part of a national government scheme to fast-track trialling their use – it will be on the streets next month.

City Mayor Paul Dennett gave approval to a trial scheme, for up to 12 months, in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the University of Salford.

Starting in October 2020, the trials will see e-scooters being used in Salford and will cover The University of Salford Peel Park campus, expanding to MediaCityUK followed by wider deployment in the area.

E-scooter hire schemes are widespread in other European cities such as Paris and Rome.  National government has fast-tracked its plans for trials, bringing them forward by 12 months, as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Mike McCusker, Executive Support Member for Planning, Housing and Sustainable Development at Salford City Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Salford to trial sustainable, green transport.

“We’ve made huge advances in green transport, with investment in electric car charging points, investment in our network of former railway lines which now provide 27 kilometres of traffic free routes for commuting and pleasure and now we’re delighted to pioneer the use of e-scooters.” 

Nicola Kane, Head of Strategic Planning, Research and Innovation at TfGM, said: “E-scooters have been hugely successful in many other countries around the world. We know people want to use them to get about and they can be a stepping-stone to encouraging them to use cars less for local journeys – reducing congestion, improving connectivity with public transport hubs and making our air cleaner. 

“We’ve worked in close partnership with Salford City Council on this project. We've sought guidance from stakeholders such as Greater Manchester Police, the Royal National Institute for the Blind and local council members, putting us in a strong position for launch and ensuring that the schemes are accessible.”

Lime, which already provides e-scooters in 125 cities around the world, has been chosen to supply and operate the scooters for Salford’s trial. Lime was appointed after a thorough selection process, being chosen over 15 other providers due to its global experience, commitments to investing in Salford, strong record of safety and its reliable and sturdy scooter design.

The trial will be open to everyone over 18 with either a provisional or full driving licence to use within the designated trial areas.

E-scooters can be accessed through the Lime app on a smartphone. Riders will approach a scooter and scan the QR code on the handlebars to begin a ride. Each scooter ride will cost £1 to unlock and 15p per minute to ride. When a ride is complete, users must park the scooter in designated parking locations and take a photo to confirm the end of the ride. This ensures the scooter is responsibly parked and out of the path of pedestrians. 

Rochdale Council are also developing plans for their own e-scooter trial and zone plans are currently under development and will take a phased approach to ensure the scheme can be appropriately scaled according to demand and any issues arising.

Cllr Neil Emmott, Cabinet member for Environment at Rochdale Council, said: “Rochdale Council is seeking opportunities to trial new and innovative forms of travel accessible to the public particularly while capacity on public transport is limited. An e-scooter hire scheme offers a flexible and sustainable option to do this particularly for short journeys within the borough, many of which are currently made by car.”

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Ellie Stott