Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme are getting shared electric scooters from British operators Ginger and Zwings respectively. Stafford went live yesterday afternoon while Newcastle-under-Lyme got going today.
In a small-scale 12-month pilot, the two operators are rolling out a combined total of 150 scooters. It’s a test of how the low-carbon devices could help clean up air quality in the rural county. The trials sit within a five-year innovation programme exploring how to introduce radical improvements to mobility and air quality, run by Staffordshire County Council and outsourced services firm Amey. In total, each location may scale up to 100 scooters.
The news marks another milestone in Ginger’s conquest of the UK. The startup is now running e-scooter programmes in five towns, including Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Redcar and Milton Keynes.
Recently-rebranded Zwings will be keen to show off its capabilities after delays to introducing its operation in Cheltenham and Gloucester, which was due to have started weeks ago. The company has priced its service at £1 unlock fee and 15p/min to ride.
While the Staffordshire trial may appear to be a small fish compared to more extensive schemes elsewhere in the country, it’s making a bold move. Zwings will allow riders aged 16 to use its scooters. Other providers (including Ginger) have mandated a minimum age of 18 to use their services, despite DfT guidance setting the age at 16. Following the lower age bracket will enable Staffordshire to assess whether it can encourage young people to choose other forms of travel instead of choosing to jump straight into cars.