The popularity of the Tees Valley’s e-scooter trial has seen users take the equivalent of a trip around the world, new figures have revealed.
The e-scooter pilot was launched by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen in Middlesbrough after the region became the first area in the country to secure a trial to test the electric vehicles as an alternative to public transport.
Since the launch in mid-July, the trial has been rolled out in Hartlepool and Redcar and journeys totalling around 25,800 miles have been clocked up. This would take you round the circumference of the earth – 24,901 miles – with enough left over for a one-way trip to Venice, Italy, which is 870 miles from Middlesbrough as the crow flies.
Around 3,200 local people have taken an e-scooter, with more than 4,800 rides to date, just over two months after they were introduced to the Tees Valley. There are currently 92 scooters distributed between 10 parking locations, with further e-scooters set to hit the roads in the coming weeks and months.
When the pilot is at full strength up to 500 of the battery powered vehicles will be on the region’s roads and cycleways over the next 12 months.
Mayor Houchen said: “We always say the Tees Valley built the world – now, with these e-scooters, we’ve circled it!
“It’s fantastic to see so many people getting involved in the trial and taking the e-scooters for a spin. While a few isolated incidents grabbed headlines – as they also have in other areas piloting the vehicles – we can’t let that detract from the massive success that this continues to be.
“This trial is another example of the way we’re doing things differently across the region putting innovation at the heart of our regional development, and it’s paying off. Local people are embracing these e-scooters as a clean, convenient, socially distanced alternative to other types of public transport and the data shows it’s not just a novelty, we have a large proportion of repeat customers using them for commuting.
“As we look to further roll out the number of scooters and locations over the coming months, the momentum will only increase and put our region on the map as bringing forward another UK game-changer.”
During this trial period, the e-scooters can be ridden by anyone over the age of 18 with a provisional driving or moped licence. The e-scooters are limited to a top speed of 11.5mph and helmets are recommended.
Ginger, the UK based e-scooter company running the trial alongside the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, has designed the scheme’s infrastructure to provide a simple, cost-effective and reliable service aimed at enabling users to get from one location to another that would otherwise take too long or force people into their cars. Ginger is responsible for the recharging of scooters and as the trial progresses Ginger will look at introducing on-street charging and docking locations.
Paul Hodgins, CEO of Ginger, said: “To be the first company to pilot e-scooters in the UK has been incredible and to do it with a forward-thinking region like Tees Valley has made it that so much easier. Pilots are geared up to test a product and this undoubtedly has been a valuable and worthwhile experience. We’ve been able to quickly identify new technologies to adopt and make our e-scooters even more safe for both riders and the public.
“Launching in Middlesbrough has been an unbelievable success with more than 3,000 people signed up and more than 25,000 miles ridden. To hear the feedback that these scooters have made such a huge difference to people’s commute, shop or even just to enjoy for a leisure activity, it’s brilliant. I can’t wait for everyone to try them.
“We’ve now got around 100 scooters across Middlesbrough, Redcar and Hartlepool with many more to come across Tees Valley and the UK.”
Brendan Rayner is one of the regular users of e-scooters in Middlesbrough and Redcar. He said: “I tried the scooters at Redcar at first. Once you get everything sorted, it’s pretty smooth sailing. We tried them just to see what they were like – they were brilliant. Near the sea in Redcar you have to be fast to get them. I’ve mentioned it to a few of my friends and they want to have a go now, to see how they are on them. I would highly recommend them.”