E-scooters return to Sunderland - here's when it starts and how much it costs under new Zwings scheme
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Original operator Neuron announced in November that it was winding up the project after almost two years.
Within days, city council bosses confirmed a new partnership had been signed with Zwings, which would see the trial run through to May 2024.
Now they have announced that the hand-over will start tomorrow, Thursday, January 5, with Zwings initially deploying 100 e-scooters in more than 100 parking bays across the city.
The number of scooters will then increase ‘significantly’ during the year.
The firm says its new e-scooter is its’ safest yet, with ride stability improve with front fork suspension and pneumatic tyres; directional indicators to allow signalling without removing hands from handlebars; and a wireless phone holder to improve navigation.
Zwings chief operating officer Stephen Bee said the firm was delighted to be taking over: “Zwings are providing the residents of Sunderland with a safe, convenient, and sustainable form of transport to travel around the city,” he said.
“We are looking forward to growing usage of e-scooters in Sunderland, by improving the availability and reliability of the service.
"Improvements to the service can encourage more people to switch away from car usage to e-scooters and other lower carbon transport.
"We are working with Sunderland City Council and Northumbria Police to ensure that misbehaviour on the e-scooters is minimised.”
How to ride
To rent a scooter, users will need to download the Zwings Sunderland app at either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
After registering, they will be able to locate the nearest scooter in the app and the unlock fee is £0.60. Each additional minute costs £0.23 (inclusive of VAT).
For frequent riders, Zwings are also offering subscription packages that will give up to 75% off usage of the service.
All riders must be over 18 and have a full or provisional driving licence to use the service. Any riders that are caught riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be permanently banned from using the service and could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or a driving ban for at least a year.
‘Newer, greener and low-carbon transport is important for all of us’
Use of helmets for riders is encouraged and Zwings will be hosting training schools just after launch where helmets will be available. Any misuse of the e-scooters can be reported directly to Zwings through their web reporting form at zwings.co.uk/reporting
City council deputy leader Coun Claire Rowntree said: “Newer, greener and low-carbon transport is important for all of us.
“I am delighted we have been able to appoint Zwings so that residents and visitors can continue to safely enjoy the benefits of this low carbon travel scheme.”
Founded in 2019, Zwings currently operates e-scooter rental services in Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Yeovil.
In August 2022 it was acquired by Zeus Scooter, an Irish provider specialising in the rental of e-scooters in and medium-sized cities.
ZEUS Scooters is currently represented in more than 40 cities across Germany and has expanded across Europe and Asia in the last year.