E-scooter trial in Sunderland looks set to be extended until November 2022

E-scooters have been available to use in Sunderland since March 2021

A trial of e-scooters in Sunderland looks set to be extended until later this year.

Sunderland City Council's Cabinet will discuss the extension to November as well as a possible expansion of the scheme at a meeting today.

It follows a request from the Department for Transport (DfT) for more data on the scheme which launched in the city in March last year.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, and Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Claire Rowntree said: "Recent lockdowns have meant trials have grown at a slower rate than initially intended.

"The trial extension allows extra time for trials to reach capacity and for the DfT to gather more information."All this information from Sunderland and other cities will guide final decisions about whether and, if so, how to fully legalise the use of e-scooters."

Sunderland's trial so far in numbers:

  • 69,500 rides have been made

  • 96,900 miles have been covered by those rides

  • 817 comments and complaints have been received, representing less than 1.2 per cent of rides. This includes all complaints received by operator Neuron including those via the council, police, public and Neuron staff

  • 25,670 car trips were displaced as a result of e-scooter trips

  • 9,220kg of CO2 have been saved from the air.

Sunderland's trial was originally intended to be in place for eight months, stopping in November 2021.

But in September 2021, it was extended to March 2022. The new proposed finish date is the end of November this year.

The report to Cabinet today also outlines discussions are ongoing with the DfT regarding expansion of the trial into new areas using newly constructed and proposed cycle infrastructure.Two options are being discussed. One includes an extension via the newly built SSTC3 and Northern Spire corridor connecting to the Nissan/IAMP employment area.

The second is for more city routes including proposed cycle infrastructure schemes.

'Embraced by the community'

George Symes, UK regional manager of Neuron Mobility which is operating the trial, welcomed the November extension and said the e-scooters were proving a hit in the city - boosting the economy and helping to tackle pollution.

"In Sunderland Neuron e-scooters have been embraced by the community, with 86% of riders believing they have made a positive impact on the city," he added. "Since operations began a year ago our e-scooters have travelled over 100,000 miles. 

"An impressive 42% of trips have replaced a car journey which has reduced congestion and eliminated around 10 tonnes of CO2.

"Research has shown that e-scooters are helping to boost the local economy, with 54% of all rides resulting in a purchase.

"We are very pleased to continue to offer e-scooters in Sunderland, they provide a safe, convenient and environmentally-friendly transport option for the city.”

Sunderland is one of dozens of cities and towns across the UK running similar trials.