We chat to Tom Williams from Voi E-Scooters

Did you know that transport accounts for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and oil fueled vehicles such as cars, buses and trains are a significant contributor to poor air quality?

Voi Technology will be taking a retrospective look at the e-scooter trial in the South West of England, covering topics from use of technology, uptake of the scheme and environmental benefits and goals.

Tom Williams is the City Success Manager for Voi, covering the South West of England. His role involves overseeing Voi’s operations on a day to day basis and working closely with councils, the West of England Combined Authority and other partners to deliver a successful trial scheme in the region.

Click here to join us for Tom’s talk on Tuesday 18th January at 12.30pm

For anyone not familiar, can you tell us how Voi works?

Tom: Voi offers a shared e-scooter scheme in the West of England, giving people an affordable, convenient and sustainable way to travel around town.

In order to rent a Voi e-scooter users need to be over 18 and have a provisional or full driver’s licence. Before starting to ride, users need to download the app and follow the instructions provided, including uploading their driver’s licence, which is then verified before they can start to ride.

In order to keep riders and all other road users safe, Voi scooters can only be used and parked in certain pre-defined areas which are clearly marked in the map provided in the app. These areas were carefully selected by Voi in close collaboration with the local councils. In addition, Voi e-scooter speeds are limited to 12.5mph, below the Department for Transport recommendation (15.5mph), and Voi encourages all first-time riders to use the ‘Beginner’s mode’ where e-scooter speeds are reduced to 10mph.

E-scooters, such as Voi’s are classified as motor vehicles. Therefore when riding a Voi, riders need to follow the rules of the road as they would do if they were riding another motor vehicle. To ensure riders are responsible and follow the rules of the road, Voi rewards and encourages its users to complete its RideLikeVoila e-scooter traffic school – the first of its kind, organises regular online and in-person safety training events where it distributes free helmets and provides regular safety in-app messages updates to all its users. More information on how to ride and park an e-scooter safely can be found here.

Voi offers different payment options to suit all travel needs, including Pay as You Go, Day and Monthly Passes, as well as discounts for students (Voi 4 Students), those on a low income (Voi 4 All) and for NHS staff and Emergency Service workers (Voi 4 Heroes).

What does it achieve from an environmental perspective?

Tom: Our vision at Voi is to create cities that are made for living, free of pollution and congestion, and that can only be achieved if we change the way we move around our cities, adopting more sustainable modes of transport such as Voi shared e-scooters.

Based on our local user surveys, we are currently achieving a 36% modal shift from short car rides. We estimate that we have replaced over 1.1 million short car rides in the West of England in a little more than one year.

Currently, over 60% of journeys from 1-2 miles in the UK are completed by motor vehicles, which happens to be the average length of an e-scooter ride. If more people adopt this green transport mode to complement their public transport journeys, leaving their cars behind, we will be making an increasingly important contribution, improving not only air quality but overall the quality of life in the region.

What has been the reaction to Voi’s trial so far in Bristol and can it become a model for other cities in the UK?

Tom: Bristol is currently one of the top cities for Voi across Europe in terms of e-scooter rides. We are seeing a growing demand for our service in the region as more people are willing to travel around in a more sustainable way. Since we launched the trial back in October 2020, over 3 million journeys have been completed with Voi scooters in Bristol.

Having been one of the first cities to adopt our carbon neutral service, Bristol is leading the way in the run to net-zero, and I’m sure many other cities will be looking at the city as a reference.

How are you reducing emissions from the production of your e-scooters?

Tom: We have been offering a climate-neutral service since January 2020, and we work to continually reduce residual emissions.

Voi adopts a circular economy approach to reduce the impact of our scooters and service.  At every step of our value chain, we consider environmental factors in design, materials, repairs, repurposing and recycling. As part of our Climate Positive statement at COP26 in November 2021, we are committed to working with suppliers to transition our supply chain to renewable energy and aim towards circular production by 2030.

More information on this topic can be found here

Tom: We look forward to continuing to work with our city partners to provide a sustainable transport service to the local community that can easily complement public transport journeys. At the same time, we are providing valuable data and insights that can support local authorities to make more informed decisions when it comes to transport and city planning in the run to net-zero.

What’s next for Voi?

Voi will continue to invest in our product, technology and service to support our ambitious vision to democratise urban mobility, enhance our safety pledge to have the safest riders on the streets and support cities in transitioning towards shared, multimodal and zero-emissions mobility.

Thank you Tom for the chat.      

Tom will take the virtual stage at our meetup on Tuesday 18th of January at 12.30pm. Head over to the meetup page to RSVP for free. (https://www.meetup.com/GreenTech-South-West/events/281871634/)