Proposals for Portsmouth e-scooter trials take step forward

Proposals for trials of e-scooters in Portsmouth took a step forward after the local council endorsed the Solent Transport proposal to the Department for Transport (DfT).

Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Traffic & Transportation, Cllr Lynne Stagg, approved plans for a trial for around 80 scooters to be available for hire from six proposed locations in the city, subject to government’s agreement.

The DfT’s agreement is required to make the trial legal and secure the funding for the scheme.

It is hoped some funding will be allocated from £28.8m the DfT allocated to Solent Transport in July. Proposals are with the DfT to agree to allocate £900,000 across the Solent Transport authorities Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight, for e-scooter trials.

Trials in each area could last for up to a year from the first trial in the region and would permit the use of e-scooters hired from official providers, they do not allow the use of privately owned e-scooters.

If the trial goes ahead e-scooters would be restricted in where they could be driven and specifically would not be allowed on pedestrian only pavements. Riders will need a valid driving licence.

Locations currently under consideration for e-scooter hire in Portsmouth are Clarence Pier Esplanade car park, Cosham Interchange, Guildhall Square, Lakeside North Harbour, The Hard Interchange and Portsmouth Park & Ride.

The council plans to work closely with a range of interested stakeholders in finalising details of the scheme including disability groups, the police and transport operators.

Cllr Stagg said: “I’m pleased to have approved these plans and hope the government can do the same and let us be a pilot area to trial e-scooters. We want to improve the range of transport options people have in the city, e-scooters could be an environmentally friendly way of doing this but we also recognise people have safety concerns and we’re committed to making sure any trials that take place in the city are very carefully regulated.”

A procurement process is currently being carried out to identify an e-scooter operator to deliver the trial. The DfT will decide upon proposals from councils including confirming the operator meets their standards on criteria such as vehicle safety.

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