Liverpool could among first cities to launch e-scooter network

Liverpool could be one of the first UK places to pilot the use of new electronic rental scooters, which could provide a new way for people to commute and move around the city.

The UK government has passed new laws allowing the use of e-scooters in the country as it looks to provide different options of travel in the country, with people being urged to avoid public transport because of coronavirus.

Previously illegal, rental companies have been given the green lightto offer e-scooters in trials that are going to be held in locations across the country from July 4.

And the world's biggest e-scooter rental company has told the ECHO that it would love to launch in Liverpool, with city leaders thought to be keen on a trial here.

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Alan Clarke, Director UK Policy and Government Affairs at Lime said his company could be trialling its network of scooters in Liverpool in the coming weeks.

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He said: "The city council in Liverpool has shown some real interest as it looks to provide zero transmission travel options for people.

"We think Liverpool would be a fantastic place to launch.

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"The coronavirus pandemic has presented a real opportunity in terms of greener travel but there is also a real danger that many people who will now avoid public transport may revert to using cars.

"There's a danger that we could undo the positive progress that's been made in this area."

Lime e-scooters says it wants to launch its network of electric scooters in Liverpool

How the e-scooter system would work

Lime already operates in 125 cities around the world, including in its native US and right across Europe, but until now the scooters have been illegal in the UK.

Mr Clarke explained how Lime's particular system works.

He said: "We have electronic scooters with two wheels, an electric throttle and breaks at the front and back.

"You unlock them using the app on your phone and you lock them again after storing them in a safe place near your destination."

He explained that the scooters will have a top speed capped at 12.5 mph and will cost an initial £1 per use – with additional fees of between around 15 to 20 pence per minute.

The scooters can be picked up and dropped off anywhere and the app will direct people to the nearest ones – but company staff will be out in the city moving them around to the most convenient locations at key times.

Mr Clarke said they will be regularly cleaned in line with coronavirus guidance – as they are taken in for re-charging.

The new legislation only allows the e-scooters to travel on roads and in cycle lanes and while helmets will not be legally enforced – they are recommended.

Mr Clarke said as soon as the legislation is passed he will be hoping to meet with Liverpool City Council leaders to get the pilot scheme up and running.

He said: "We are pretty hopeful that we could see e-scooters being used in Liverpool in six weeks."