Sunderland e-scooter trial set to be extended again - scheme will now run for most of 2022

Sunderland’s e-scooter trial looks set to continue into November to allow more data to be gathered.

As part of its next meeting Sunderland City Council’s cabinet will be recommended to extend the trial to November 30, 2022.

E-scooter operator Neuron began its rental trial at the end of March 2021 with Sunderland among dozens of cities and towns running similar trials.

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The extension proposed to Sunderland City Council’s cabinet next week is in line with a revised end date for nationwide trials from the Department for Transport (DfT).

The trial has been extended again.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Recent lockdowns have meant trials have grown at a slower rate than initially intended.

“The trial extension allows extra time for trials to reach capacity and for the DfT to gather more information.

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“All this information from Sunderland and other cities will guide final decisions about whether and, if so, how to fully legalise the use of e-scooters.”

Sunderland’s trial was launched on March 31, 2021 and was intended to be in place until November 30, 2021.

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The council has kept the trial under continuous review with data collected on the use of the e-scooters across Wearside.

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Since March 2021, 69,500 rides have been made covering 96,900 miles.

Around 817 comments and complaints have been received to date, representing less than 1.2% of rides.

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This includes all complaints received by Neuron and those received via the council, police, public and Neuron staff.

A recent rider survey carried out in November 2021 also found that 31.8% of e-scooter trips directly displaced car trips in Sunderland.

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It also showed that within the city, 42% of trips replaced a car journey and that 55% of users combine their e-scooter journey with another form of public transport.

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The report to cabinet sets out the consequences of not extending the e-scooter trial in Sunderland.

It reads: “An alternative option is to not extend Sunderland`s e-scooter trial, ending the trial on March 31 2022, removing the e-scooters from operation, terminating the contract with Neuron Mobility (United Kingdom) Limited and [to] no longer participate in gathering data for DfT.

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“This option is rejected on the basis that the absence of sustainable travel choices would not accord with the council or city ambitions on becomingcarbon neutral or the City Plan aims.”

Discussions are ongoing between the city council and the DfT regarding expansion of the e-scooter trial into new areas using newly constructed and proposed cycle infrastructure.

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Two options are being discussed including an extension via the newly built section of Sunderland’s Strategic Transport Corridor and Northern Spire corridor connecting to the Nissan/IAMP employment area.

The second option includes an extension into more city routes including proposed cycle infrastructure schemes.

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Proposals to extend the e-scooter trial to November are set to be discussed by cabinet at City Hall on Tuesday, February 8.

The meeting starts at 10am and will be open to the public.

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