Slough is set to participate in an e-scooter rental trial.
The trial will see 250 hi-tech, zero emission e-scooters available to rent and the creation of 25 local skilled jobs.
The 12-month long e-scooter rental scheme proposal was submitted and considered by the Department of Transport which has given it the green light. It will go live within the next month.
The distinctive orange scooters will have a top speed of 15.5mph for experienced riders and a 9mph top speed for beginners. They will only be permitted to be used on roads 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.
In consultation with the council the company will also create a series of slow zones, no-parking and no-go zones for safety.
Geo-fencing technology and a GPS tracking system will control speed as well as tell riders to get back onto an approved road or route if it detects the e-scooter rider strays.
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 eight cities.
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.
The e-scooters can be rented by people aged 18 years and over who hold a full or provisional driving licence.
The trial is part of the council’s transport initiatives to encourage changes to the way short journeys are made to walking, cycling, and now with the added choice of an e-scooter. Using them means people will be able to get around easily, safely and sustainably while being able to maintain social distancing.
Neuron’s purpose built safety-first e-scooters use geo-fencing technology which controls speed and where the e-scooters can be ridden and parked in different areas.
The e-scooters also carry a 999 emergency button feature which will help the rider notify the emergency services if a fall is detected. They will also be a ‘follow my ride’ function where a rider’s trip can be tracked in real time for added safety and peace of mind.
Neuron will also be deploying a dedicated safety team working around the clock and responsible for educating riders and sanitisation. Hospital grade disinfectant will be used to clean helmets and the e-scooters. Staff will also move the vehicles to where they are needed the most, assist new riders with signing up, and deliver practical tips for safe riding.
Riding rental e-scooters became legal on the UK’s roads on 4 July, 2020. Privately-owned electric scooters remain outlawed for use on any public path and road.
Cllr Rob Anderson, cabinet member for transport and environmental services, said: “This is an exciting first for Slough.
“We are leading the way in the use of alternative electric vehicles and the potential benefits of their use in the future.
“The town’s bus lanes, including the current experimental lanes on the A4, will be able to be used by the rental scooters leading to them being an attractive and sustainable way to travel in the borough.”
Zachary Wang, CEO of Neuron Mobility, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a permit to operate in Slough and look forward to partnering with the council to deliver a safe and convenient service to help people move around the town post pandemic.
“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.”
Rental will be able to be organised via the Neuron app and the charges and more details of the scheme will be published nearer the launch date.