A Zipp for every trip

A fleet of new electric scooters will soon be available in Aylesbury and High Wycombe as part of a 12-month rental trial.

Following Department for Transport approval for Buckinghamshire Council’s proposal, the e-scooters will provide people with an alternative, convenient and more environmentally friendly way of getting around during the pandemic, particularly for shorter journeys which normally made by car.

The two trials, expected to be operational from next month, will follow popular routes through both towns and special ‘geofencing’ technology will prevent them operating outside of set areas. Special ‘parking zones’ will also be marked out at popular points to make pick-up and drop off easier.

The council is linking up with Irish company Zipp Mobility.

Zipp has set up operations in High Wycombe, helping to create seven new local jobs.

Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, Nick Naylor said: ‘In addition to looking at ways to encourage more cycling and walking, the e-scooter trials bring a new dimension to short distance travel in our two main town centres.

‘With coronavirus restrictions set to be with us for months to come, it’s vital to keep investing in our town centres and new forms of micro-transport have the potential to make a considerable contribution.’

The council’s Cabinet Member for Sport and Leisure and cycling champion for Aylesbury Garden Town, Clive Harriss said: ‘I’m really excited that Buckinghamshire is part of this national trial and is helping influence future policy making in this area.

‘As well as offering an alternative to cycling or walking, we expect scooters to come into their own particularly for those shorter urban trips in town centres. I can’t wait to have a go.’

Charlie Gleeson, founder of Zipp Mobility, said: ‘Our vision is ‘micro-mobility done right’ and we are excited to make that a reality by bringing our uniquely safer model of scooter-sharing to Buckinghamshire.’

At the core of the trial is safety, both for the e-scooter riders and other road users and pedestrians. Zipp has already led several informal discussions with local councillors and other interested parties, in particular representatives of disability organisations, to understand their fears and address them directly in designing the trial.

Zipp scooters are said to be amongst the most robust on the market. Designed in California, specifically for the rental market, they exceed the Department for Transport’s required technical specification.

Zipp Mobility will be undertaking in-person, education and training sessions before the trials get fully under way. This will give people interested in using a scooter the opportunity to try one out before renting.

In order to ride an e-scooter, a person will have to be over 16 and at the least hold a provisional driving licence. A verifiable ID check will also be undertaken before a rider can hire a scooter. Scooters will be booked and paid for via the Zipp Mobility app.

Zipp scooters will be using geofencing technology to prevent riders from going into wholly pedestrian areas or onto major roads. If they try, the scooter motors will slow down to a standstill – until they return to a permitted riding route.

The maximum speed limit is 15.5 mph and it is possible to use the technology to automatically reduce speeds and create slow zones in specified areas.

To reduce the incidence of ‘scooter littering’ (where scooters are simply abandoned by riders) the Bucks scheme will utilise marked parking bays where riders will start and finish journeys.

During the trial there will be regular opportunities for feedback and the trial can be modified at any time.

Test drive one:
To book into one of the education and training sessions and test drive a scooter, visit the Zipp Mobility website. Details will be available shortly.