Phil Ellis, CEO of Beryl Bikes gives his overview on how well the e-scooter trial in Bournemouth is going.
We love bikes at Beryl, and that will never change. But since becoming involved in the government’s e-scooter trials, we have also been won over by these new additions to the personal transport world and recognise their importance in helping people to reduce their reliance on their car. This is why we think they are a great addition to our fleet and to those of other local transport hire schemes.
Launched on Monday 25 January 2021 in partnership with BCP Council, our Department for Transport (DfT) backed e-scooter trial scheme in Bournemouth and Poole has clocked up almost 719,000 journeys and travelled nearly 2.5 million kilometres. That is just over three and a quarter time to the Moon and back! These figures show that our e-scooters have proved highly popular to both locals and visitors. In the second year of operation, the number of journeys undertaken on our e-scooters has grown by 264,346, an increase of around 31%. This shows that the e-scooters' popularity is also increasing year on year.
The evidence we gather from ‘end of trip surveys’ and our GPS fleet monitoring systems tells us that, when delivered properly and in an integrated fashion, e-scooters complement our bike and e-bike fleets really well, boost the number of users and increase the regularity of usage. This data is particularly useful in enabling the towns and cities we work with to successfully integrate them into their local transport strategies.
The objective of the DfT’s nationwide trial of e-scooter hire schemes is to see if they can make a tangible impact on the environment, reduce emissions and help to reduce car usage, particularly for short local journeys, thus reducing congestion. Direct feedback from users tells us that, on average, over 27% of all e-scooter journeys in Bournemouth and Poole have replaced road transport journeys, including driving or being a passenger in a car, van, taxi or motorbike. According to industry calculations, this has saved over 135 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide emissions whilst helping to reduce car usage: a significant impact.
A recent DfT report evaluating the national e-scooter trials showed the Bournemouth and Poole trial to be the second most utilised out of the 32 trials across the country, generating four trips per e-scooter per day. I think it is safe to say that the Bournemouth and Poole trial is proving very popular and having a good impact on the two towns by offering a fun and sustainable transport option.
The presence of e-scooters can also boost the appeal of the whole Beryl hire scheme in the BCP Council and other areas. Some users can be reluctant to be seen as, or to define themselves as, ‘a cyclist’ but they would tacitly like to try alternatives to the car. As a result, the availability of e-scooters has been shown to encourage users to trial active travel and then go on and try different modes of sustainable transport once they have tried the e-scooters.
The findings of Beryl’s latest Annual Rider Report reflect this point. It shows that riders actively embrace variety, with respondents from scheme areas where e-scooters are present, much more likely to go on and try bikes and e-bikes, as well as to use sustainable travel more often. Compared to 2021, customers of our BCP scheme are now much more likely to try different modes of sustainable travel and the number of our customers riding bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters has almost doubled from 29% last year to 47% this year. The report also showed more than 50% of the 1000+ respondents in BCP used Beryl trips to connect with onward public transport, further demonstrating their value for true transport integration.
We know the demand is there and believe that legalising the use of private and hire e-scooters would make them more accessible, boost their popularity and normalise their presence on our roads. This in turn would amplify calls for better infrastructure, which would not only improve safety, but also encourage even more people to leave their car at home, as safety on the roads is seen as one of the key reasons why people do not take up active transport.
Ultimately, this will all help to achieve the trial’s main aims of reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions while improving air quality and public health.
Why not try an e-scooter for yourself:
Visit: Bike and scooter hire in Dorset - Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole | Beryl for more information