COMMENT: Sunderland may give cautious welcome to e-scooters
Sunderland is about to get its first batch of e-scooters … and no doubt it’s first wave of gripes and grumbles.
Depending on where you sit on the subject, e-scooters are either a cheap and green mode of transport for a forward-thinking city or a pedestrian menace cluttering up the community.
On paper, the machines appear to offer a cheap and cheerful way of getting about the city, but they have not been without controversy.
They are a plentiful sight in major European cities but, despite being rechargeable electric vehicles, a recent study claimed that, over their lifetime, e-scooters produce more emissions per passenger mile than buses.
That said, they are undoubtedly more environmentally-friendly than most cars and their energy efficiency is improving all the time.
Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller is hopeful the benefits will far outweigh the negatives.
As he tells us today: "Trials have been approved in other towns and cities and scooters have the potential for another convenient, clean and cost-effective transport choice.
"E-scooters could also be used by visitors and tourists for leisure type journeys along the seafront by linking with the city centre and some of our Metro stations.
"E-scooters offer the potential for fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can help ease the burden on transport networks and they allow for social-distancing.”
Given the potential benefits, e-scooters are certainly worth a trial run in the city … and if they don’t meet the people’s expectations, the gripes and grumbles may well hold sway.