Somerset West and Taunton Council have announced that the Department for Transport (DfT) has approved its proposal to operate an e-scooter trial in Taunton.
The Council has appointed Zipp Mobility to run the 12-month trial scheme which is scheduled to commence in late October. Zipp Mobility, headquartered in Ireland, will create at least four full-time jobs for the duration of the trial.
E-scooters were made legal for use on UK roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks in selected trial areas in July. Since then, more than 35 local authorities have submitted bids to the DfT.
Cllr Peter Pilkington, Executive Member for Climate Change, has told Tone News:
SWT is in the process of approving a district-wide plan as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, and has already implemented several initiatives to help create a more sustainable future for everyone.
I am delighted that we have been successful in our bid to be part of the trial scheme and to have secured Zipp Mobility as our operator. E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Zipp Mobility e-scooter has been carefully designed with safety in mind. It features an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, 10-inch airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking, a wide base and a low centre of gravity. The scooters are also equipped with anti-viral handlebar wraps that kill 99.98% of Coronaviruses to help eliminate Covid-19 transmission risk.
In addition to this, the Council and Zipp will be engaging with local representatives and groups in order to ensure this trial is tailor-made for the area and has a positive impact on the community.
The hired vehicles can only be used within set geographical boundaries, so Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are being amended in order to be ready to start the trial.
The Department for Transport has stipulated that only e-scooters involved in the trials can be used in public areas – it remains illegal to use privately owned e-scooters in a public space.