E-scooters will be seen on the roads from today (Friday) as the zero emissions travel scheme launches.
The distinctive orange rental e-scooters are now allowed on roads and in the bus lanes as an alternative way to travel in Slough.
The town is one of only 13 cities and towns in the country currently taking part in trials approved by the Department of Transport to allow the new electric vehicles to legally be ridden on the roads.
The council is working with world leading electric vehicle company Neuron Mobility which is providing 250 e-scooters to rent and 25 staff to co-ordinate the trial.
The staff will help riders learn how to use the e-scooters and the rules of riding as well as thoroughly cleaning them after use.
The e-scooters can be picked up and parked at 60 conveniently placed stations which are shown on the Neuron app which also shows the no ride zones. Journeys begin and end with the simple scanning of a QR code.
For single trips it will cost £1 to unlock the e-scooter and 18 pence per minute thereafter. More frequent users have the option to purchase Neuron passes on a subscription service, available for three days a week at a cost of £15, weekly at £22 and monthly at £36.
A trip from Slough railway station to Telefonica O2, Slough Trading Estate, could cost as little as £3 and take just 10 minutes whereas a trip to Wexham Park Hospital from the station could take 15 minutes and cost around £3.50.
The e-scooters will have a top speed of 15.5mph for experienced riders and a 9mph top speed for beginners. Each is fitted with a licence plate which can deter misuse.
Cllr Rob Anderson, cabinet member for sustainable transport and the environment, had a road test today on the e-scooter and was shown how easy the vehicles were to ride.
He said: “Riding a Neuron e-scooter was easy to get the hang of and I can see how practical they can be as an alternative mode of transport.
“Not only can they now be ridden on Slough’s roads as part of the trial but along the bus lanes to make travelling around even easier.
“They are only allowed on the roads with penalties when they are ridden on pavements.”
Riders have to be aged over 18 years old and hold a provisional or full driving licence to be permitted to rent an e-scooter.
They will only be permitted to be used on roads during the 12-month trial and riders will be able to use the town’s bus and on-road cycle lanes.
The rental e-scooters will not be allowed to be used on any pavement, even shared pavements where cyclists are permitted, to protect pedestrians.
Privately-owned electric scooters remain outlawed for use on any public path and road.
The e-scooters will include world-leading safety features like integrated lockable helmets, voice guidance to educate and alert riders during rides, and sensors which can tell if the e-scooter has been involved in a fall or has been left on its side.
Each is equipped with front and rear lights, which flash when breaking, so can be easily seen.
Third party insurance is included when a resident rents one of the machines.
The scheme is being facilitated by leading e-scooter operator Neuron Mobility and Slough will be the company’s first scheme in the UK. The company is the largest operator in Australia and New Zealand where it successfully operates in nine cities.
Zachary Wang, CEO of Neuron Mobility, said: “We are delighted to have launched in Slough today, it’s a great location and ideally suited to benefit from e-scooters. Our e-scooters are a safe and convenient way to get around particularly for those who wish to practice social distancing. We look forward to continuing our work with Slough Borough Council, and the wider community, to integrate into the town in the best possible way.
“Safety is our top priority, it dictates our e-scooter design and also the way we operate them. Our N3 e-scooters are jam-packed with cutting-edge safety features and our safety course and riding guidelines have been co-developed with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, RoSPA, the UK’s leading accident prevention charity.”
The Neuron e-scooter app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play where driving licence details and a payment card will be required before being allowed to ride an e-scooter.