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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Abigail Turner

New e-scooter provider secured for West of England

E-scooter firm Voi, which operates hire schemes across the West of England, will no longer provide services to Bristol and Bath after the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority secured a new contract.

Swedish firm Voi has been operating the e-scooter scheme since its launch in 2020, but will now hand the reigns over to German company, Tier.

There are 4,000 e-scooters in the region, all of which will be green, rebranding from the current coral colour, and will be branded "WESTscoot". In addition, the fleet will include 1,500 new pedal-only e-bicycles and 20 e-cargo bikes for local businesses.

The new contract is expected to bring £10m to the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority over four years. Metro mayor Dan Norris said that this money would be ring-fenced for public transport and that clauses in the contract would address parking concerns, with 100 new e-scooter parking racks provided.

Mr Norris said: "WESTscoot must build on the successes of e-scooters in our West of England region which has been one of the most successful trials anywhere in Europe. But it must also address the legitimate concerns residents often voice over poor and irresponsible e-scooter parking.

Read more: Voi calls for e-scooter law 'clarity' to secure industry’s future

"Given our very ambitious West of England net-zero 2030 target, it is vital that these bright green electric WESTscoot, WESTbike and WESTcargo e-vehicles become a common and welcome sight across our region, for they are an important means to allow residents to reduce car use or give it up completely if they should so choose."

Tier operates in over 560 towns and cities across 30 countries and has run shared e-scooter and e-bike services in the UK since 2020 with a focus on providing sustainable alternatives for shorter journeys.

Mr Norris added: “Tier are extremely keen to do a great job for our brilliant region and I’m pleased about their green credentials as the first micro-mobility company to be fully climate-neutral.”

Fred Jones Tier vice president in Northern Europe commented: “I believe with WESTscoot, the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority is setting out an important example of how shared electric personal vehicles and existing public transport options can work together to reduce carbon emissions and congestion in our urban centres.

“The expansion of the service to include e-bikes and e-cargo bikes makes it easier for the people of West of England to choose to leave their car at home and pick the perfect vehicle for their journey, whether that is commuting, going to see friends or even doing the weekly shop. We are proud to have been selected as the operator for this UK-leading flagship service and look forward to the full launch this autumn.”

WESTscoot e-scooter by Tier (WECA)

In November 2022 Voi announced that it had parted ways with its Russian shareholders, after it was warned it could face losing the contract for Bristol and Bath if it did not sever ties. The Swedish tech firm confirmed to BusinessLive the investors had been removed from the business over the summer, and their shares have been sold, pending administrative confirmation.

Voi UK, Ireland and France general manager Jack Samler told BristolLive: “We have worked tremendously hard over the last three years to make the West of England e-scooter trial the most successful in the country – and one of the largest in Europe.

“We are very proud of what we’ve achieved in Bristol and Bath and the legacy we’ve built. It is disappointing to be leaving these cities. There are several differences in the new contract compared to our existing contract, many of which will impact on our overall costs. At Voi, we believe schemes must be financially sustainable for operators to allow for continued investment in rider experience, safety and integration with other road users and pedestrians.

“This is critical for the industry long-term. We are not prepared to run any shared e-scooter trial at a loss."

Voi will continue to run the current e-scooter until the autumn when the new Tier service takes over.

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