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Disappointment as council ends trial

The UK government’s failure to resolve the legal position of e-scooters continues to have an effect as another one of the temporary rental trials closes down. Sandwell Council in Birmingham has refused to extend a local scheme run by Swedish e-scooter rental firm Voi, which ended on 25 November. The council hasn’t given a reason for ending the scheme.

Voi said it was “disappointed” the West Bromwich service hadn’t been extended. A Voi spokesman told the Birmingham Live website, “We’re proud of the safe and convenient service we have delivered to the people of Sandwell, so it’s disappointing to announce the sad closure of our operations in the town. We’ve been delighted to have played our part in helping riders ditch nearly 7000 petrol-powered car journeys since launching two years ago.” Similar Voi schemes nearby in Birmingham and Coventry are not affected by the decision.

Legislation to normalise the legal status of e-scooters was expected in a transport bill before last summer, but the chaotic state of the UK government at the time scuppered the transport bill, leaving e-scooters in a curious limbo state: legal to sell but not to use on public roads, yet available in various areas as part of trial hire schemes, which are now being extended or closed down, seemingly at the whim of local government.


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