Mixed Reactions to Pause of E-Scooters in Birmingham
Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) was unable to secure a new contract with the Swedish company, Voi which operates the electric scooters within the city of Birmingham. Some residents are happy with the delay. They cite the unruliness in the riders and concerns of public safety. However, those who utilize them for commuting have complained that their travel times and costs will only increase due to the lack of micro-mobility.
TfWM had hoped for a more "seamless transition" into a fresh contract to continue the use of electric scooter services in the city. However, changing and unclear laws around and about e-scooters as well as their usage has lead to significant delays. The city of Birmingham had a fleet of approximately 2,000 electric scooters accounting for an average of up to 30,000 rides a week.
A few residents describe the problems they cause when ridden on sidewalks. Near misses, how they are too silent and fast making accidents all too common.
On the other hand, their are those who utilize them for work and find their commute times doubled and unpredictable with the lack of an e-scooter at their disposal. Hence, there are two sides to this coin. Improvements must be made around the laws and infrastructure supporting electric scooters to increase pedestrian and rider safety. This will help to reduce accidents and promote additional riders to join the effort. Time will tell if the city of Birmingham can come to an agreement with Voi and support the growing number of people who utilize them for their daily lives. In the meantime for those with personal e-scooters, please ride safely and respect the rules of the road. Don't forget to wear your helmet!
Ride Together. Ride GOTRAX.