E-scooter rental scheme to be trialled in Sunderland - this is how it will work
An e-scooter scheme is set to be launched in Sunderland as part of a pilot aimed at transforming the way Wearsiders get about.
The scooters, which would be limited to a top speed of 12.5mph, offer the potential for cleaner, inexpensive travel and for more social distancing during the Covid pandemic, according to city leaders, and could be rented by the hour or for longer periods.
The e-scooters would be GPS tracked and have a ‘Geofence’ system to ensure they are only used on designated routes.
A similar scheme is already up and running in Teesside, where there were some teething problems, and city leaders stress this is a pilot aimed at examining how well the project works and what issues might arise.
Sunderland City Council's Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 9 February will consider giving the green-light to a scheme that could begin in March 2021 and run for approximately eight months.
The meeting will be held remotely, and can be viewed by members of the public on YouTube.
The trial will assist with Department for Transport research and future decisions on legalising their use.
Sunderland City Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller said: "Trials have been approved in other towns and cities and scooters have the potential for another convenient, clean and cost-effective transport choice.
"Our trial is about providing capacity and support journeys and two possible key employment and education routes such as from the city centre to the Royal Hospital and University of Sunderland sites.
"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.
"They could help support first and last mile journeys, especially on routes that have capacity limited public transport."
Riders would have a user app to confirm they have either a full provisional driving or motorcycle licence.Cllr Miller said the council and any operator would also encourage helmet use, and there are no financial costs to the council for taking part in the scheme."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,” he said."Sunderland has set down its credentials and plans to become a carbon-neutral city and if e-scooters can play a part in this then it's very important that we find out more."