Ford has launched its first public hire e-scooter trial in Basildon, Essex.
Initially launching with 50 e-scooters available for hire throughout the town, the trial is being conducted by Spin, Ford’s micromobility unit. The firm says that the move is the ‘first step’ in a phased launch, which will see gradual expansion through work with Basildon Council.
In addition, NHS workers that work in a healthcare facility within the active trial locations will be able to utilise a 30-minute free ride under a scheme called ‘Everyday Heroes’.
Spin will also be offering subsidised fares – 50 per cent off – to unemployed and low-income riders who have registered with Jobcentre Plus and who have access to a Jobcentre Plus Discount Travel Card.
Steve Pyer, UK country manager at Spin, said: “We are excited to launch the first of our Essex e-scooter trials in Basildon. Our aim is to develop an affordable and reliable service that gives the local community of more than 100,000 residents a more sustainable, fun and socially-distanced way to travel around the town.
“To achieve this, we are taking a community-centred, consultative approach with local authorities, with public safety as a top priority. Unlike private e-scooters that are still illegal in the UK, we have much more control of the e-scooters speed and the areas where people can ride.
“As this is part of the national trials we’ll be closely monitoring it and sharing findings and feedback with the Department for Transport and local authorities and fine-tune operations as and when needed.”
The scooters are restricted to a maximum speed of 15.5mph, while geofencing technology will be used to create ‘go slow’ and ‘no ride’ areas which automatically prevent the e-scooters from being ridden in areas where they’re not allowed to go. Outside of these areas, e-scooters are permitted to ride anywhere that bicycles are permitted to ride, including most low-speed roads – up to 30mph. Scooters are not permitted to be used on pavements, however.