Bristol e-scooter scheme could be taken over by new operator next year

Voi could bid to own Bristol's e-scooters in long term agreement. Credit: Voi

A new company could take over Bristol’s e-scooter scheme from Voi next year.

E-scooter operators have been asked to bid for a long-term contract in the city, as the initial trial period draws to a close.

Swedish firm Voi has operated Bristol’s e-scooter scheme for two years. In March, the trial was extended an additional eight months.

The scheme started in March 2020, and, since then, more than 280,000 people have used e-scooters in the West of England, totalling six million journeys.

Nearly one-third of total Voi e-scooter trips (31%) ended on Bristol’s high streets.

The West of England combined authority mayor Dan Morris welcomed the opportunity for new companies to come forward.

He said: “The trial has had some notable successes with over a quarter of a million local people using them — which is record-breaking nationwide. But there have also been challenges, including safety.

Swedish firm Voi has operated Bristol’s e-scooter scheme for two years.

“I back schemes that encourage people to leave the car behind and help us to meet our ambitious net-zero targets.

"I would very much like to encourage providers to now come forward and explain how they would provide a reliable, safe and affordable service for West of England residents.”

The combined authority has issued a Prior Information Notice to the market, in its search for a company to take on the e-scooter scheme.

Matthew Pencharz, Head of Policy at Voi UK and Ireland, said: “We welcome the decision by the West of England Combined Authority to issue the notice for a long-term micromobility provider as it’s an opportunity to provide certainty for the industry.

“Over the last two years, Voi has pioneered micromobility in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire by working closely with local councils, riders, and other stakeholders to help the scheme become not only one of the most successful e-scooter services in Europe but be a safe, affordable and convenient one for all.

“Once the full details of the tender are announced we will examine in close detail how our vision and expertise from operating in the UK and Europe’s biggest cities can help the region on its path to a low-carbon future and create better places for living.”

Voi could bid for the new contract and win again, meaning there would be no change in operator.

The company will run the current e-scooters until the new contract is awarded, so there will be no gap in provision.

Credit: Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporter