Cardiff could be one of the first UK places to pilot the use of new electronic rental scooters, which could provide a new way for people to commute and move around the city.
Under new rules announced by the UK Government’s Department for Transport, e-scooters are now allowed on roads across the UK as part of a rental pilot scheme, and a Welsh company, GOiA, is leading the charge on the electric micro-mobility future with the launch of e-scooter rental opportunities.
Part of the South Wales based Inter Vehicle Group which operates a number of companies in the vehicle and vehicle sharing sector, GOiA is looking to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds and create ten new jobs through its e-scooter rollout. It is currently in talks with Local Authorities across Wales and the rest of the UK to offer e-scooters in towns and cities, following Welsh Government acknowledgement that it is exploring their use across Wales.
The move by GOiA is set against the backdrop of the Welsh Government’s Climate Emergency Declaration last year, the need to meet clean air targets in Welsh towns and cities, the ever-changing micro-mobility agenda and a *recent letter sent by hundreds of Welsh NHS staff to Welsh Government stating that ‘poor air quality and climate change is a bigger threat to people’s health and the economy than Coronavirus…environmental issues need to be prioritised as part of a healthy recovery’.
Added to this is the fact the Welsh transport network will be stretched in the coming months and years as social distancing becomes the norm and capacity reduces on usual means of transport. Micro-mobility will therefore present a safer and greener way to navigate towns and cities.
The technology and hardware being used by GOiA is of the highest specification and will be app based, utilising docking stations and GPS control and monitoring. This will mean robust, best in class e-scooters can be located using the app, booked, used, and then docked again.
The docking stations can be powered by battery or hard wired, allowing for quick deployment across areas to cope with the increased demand in the coming months. Plans are also in place to introduce solar powered docking stations and charge points, reinforcing the environmental message further still.
Commenting on the creation of GOiA, Jarrad Morris, Group Managing Director of IVG says: “Wales has a huge opportunity to lead the way in micro-mobility and build on excellent schemes such as Nextbike in Cardiff. We recognise the work that Local Authorities are putting into clean air strategies and improving micro-mobility in green, sustainable ways and as a Welsh business, we want to be part of that and do our bit to make it possible.
“By utilising the latest technology, we can use e-scooters as a key travel option throughout towns and cities, not just for last mile journeys but areas where having a car might be impractical. We are able to limit the speed of our e-scooters in city centres, track them and disable them if they are misused, and by utilising a docking station, limit any chances of our product being left where it shouldn’t be. Plus, to rent an e-scooter you must have a provisional driving licence, therefore stopping children from accessing them.”
The new legislation only allows the e-scooters to travel on roads and in cycle lanes and while helmets will not be legally enforced – they are recommended.