Great Yarmouth Borough Council launches e-scooter hire trial to support greener travel
People can now hire electric scooters to get around Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Bradwell in an environmentally-friendly way - thanks to a trial designed to support a "green restart" of local travel.
Replacing shorter-distance journeys which might otherwise be undertaken by car, e-scooters offer the potential of an affordable, reliable and sustainable means of travel during social distancing, while cutting carbon emissions and pressure on public transport.
With the support of Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Constabulary, Great Yarmouth Borough Council applied successfully to the Department for Transport to become one of the controlled trial areas nationally, helping the Government decide whether to legalise e-scooters.
The council has partnered with authorised e-scooter operator Ginger, which is initially providing 35 e-scooters and 50 parking bays for this trial. Only the authorised "Ginger"-branded scooters are part of the official trial; the use of other e-scooters remains illegal in public places.
The trial zone covers residential areas and key commuter routes within Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Bradwell, as well as both seafronts and other key employment areas, including the James Paget University Hospital, Northgate Hospital, Harfreys and Gapton Hall industrial estates and South Denes.
Rides can be hired via the Ginger Shared Transport app, costing £2 per 20 minutes to ride and 50p per 10 minutes to pause. Two free rides a day are currently available, until at least June 21, to NHS, emergency services workers and armed forces personnel under Ginger's Free Rides for Heroes initiative.
Users must be aged 16 or over and hold a provisional or full driving licence. The first time they ride, the user needs to photograph their licence, and submit a selfie with it, to verify it is theirs. Those aged 16 or 17 are required to complete an online e-scooter training course before they can ride. Users are covered under Ginger's insurance.
E-scooters can be ridden on roads and cycle paths within the trial area - anywhere bicycles can be legally used - though there are a number of zones where users will have to dismount due to safety, including the A47 bypass, Haven Bridge and Gorleston High Street. E-scooters must not be ridden on pavements.
To further support safety, riders are advised to stick to roads with a speed limit of 20mph or 30mph. Ginger has fixed the maximum speed at 12mph, with a "walking pace" slow zone of 4mph in the Market Place. Ginger regularly cleans its e-scooters, though riders are asked to sanitise handlebars before and after use.
Riders are encouraged to leave feedback as part of the trial via the app as well as make suggestions or comments about the trial area or parking bay locations. Anyone can also send feedback to email@example.com Find out more at www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/e-scooters #SwitchToScoot
Cllr Penny Carpenter, chairman of environment committee, said: "Supporting our wider aspirations for improved connectivity and sustainability, this trial is a great opportunity for people to experience the benefits of e-scooters and use them alongside cycling and walking as methods of active travel that decrease car usage.
"E-scooters offer the possibility of affordable, reliable and clean way to travel during a time of social distancing, improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the longer term. However, this is very much a trial - we will learn lessons as we go, welcome constructive feedback and will work with Ginger to review operations."
Temporary Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, head of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "E-scooters are classed as a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act and therefore we must remind users to treat them as such.
"As it is a motor vehicle, the Road Traffic Act also provides powers to police to stop users of e-scooters for offences such as drug and drink driving as well as careless or dangerous driving. It is important that users stick to the roads. The use of e-scooters on pavements is not allowed by law.
"Whilst these Government trials are currently underway, the legislation still remains the same and we would remind people that the use of regular e-scooters remains illegal in public places.
"During this trial period, we will look to engage and educate e-scooter users, individuals must be aware that they could face a fine or penalty points if found to be repeat offenders."