There are now 2,000 shared electric scooters plying their trade across England. British operator Ginger helped push past the milestone this weekend, by adding to four of its five fleets.
When the UK’s pilot programmes first began to be announced, it seemed that the country would very quickly reach tallies of thousands of electric scooters. The West Midlands scheme alone promised 10,000 vehicles.
However, when teething issues soon followed (in the form of pavement riding and street clutter), operators and local authorities realised they needed to scale back initial roll-outs in favour of more gradual introductions. Any major change to the public realm or transport system is often met with resistance and suspicion, whether or not it’s been subject to public consultation, so the gentler approach has been the right one to take.
And those teething issues only showed up so fast because residents were extremely and universally keen to start using the little electric machines.
It’s fitting that Ginger was the company to take the total over the top. Why? It was this brave British start-up that got the ball rolling in the first place, when Ginger launched a tiny fleet in Middlesbrough in July.
Ginger now operates in five towns; Milton Keynes is its only operation not to receive a boost in numbers this weekend.
Here’s what’s happened with e-scooter fleets in early November:
- Middlesbrough, Ginger: doubled
- Redcar, Ginger: doubled
- Hartlepool, Ginger: doubled
- Stafford, Ginger: doubled
- York, Tier: +50%
- Taunton, Zipp: +50%
- Cheltenham, Zwings: +50%
- Yeovil, Zwings: +50%
- Liverpool, Voi: +50% (in late October)
- Gloucester, Zwings: +30%
The general direction of travel is pretty positive and points towards a sustainable business model that is bedding in well with local communities. Any doubts that shared e-scooters are here to stay won’t last long.
Additional reporting by Oliver O’Brien.
This article was updated on 09 November 2020 to remove a reference about Lime’s fleet size performance, which was inaccurate.