E-scooters launched on Keele campus

A fleet of Zwings e-scooters are now available to rent on the Keele campus as part of the Department for Transport and Staffordshire County Council’s e-scooter trials.

As part of Keele University’s role in the ADEPT Live Labs programme SIMULATE, it has teamed up with one of Britain’s leading electric scooter providers, Zwings, to bring rental e-scooters to campus and supplement the existing rental scheme in the surrounding Newcastle-under-Lyme area.

The Staffordshire County Council’s SIMULATE project in collaboration with Keele University, is a new infrastructure partnership designed to accelerate innovative solutions in sustainable transport and clean air supported by Keele research and funded by the Department for Transport.

The trial currently covers an area including Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre, Keele University and Silverdale, but soon will expand to include wider residential regions to the north and south of the borough. The County Council is allowing e-scooters to have access to all cycle lanes in Newcastle-under-Lyme for a 12- month trial.

 Users, who must be 16 or over and hold a provisional, full or motorcycle driving licence, will be charged £1 to unlock a scooter and then 15p a minute. The scooters must be kept on roads, cycle tracks or cycle lanes within the trial area and users are encouraged to wear helmets. Once a journey has been completed the scooters can be left in one of the designated parking areas detailed on the Zwings app.

E-scooters can be rented via the Zwings app and are limited to 12mph. Users are asked to clean the handlebars before and after riding.

As part of their Covid-19 response, Zwings clean their e-scooters using an approved sanitisation spray and are applying Shieldex self-cleansing copper handle grips which can render up to 99.98% of viruses and bacteria harmless.

Greg Dargue, Deputy Director of Estates at Keele University, said: “As part of Keele University's commitment to significantly reducing its carbon emissions, and developing a truly integrated travel and transport system, it is working with Staffordshire County Council on a variety of sustainable transport solutions.

“E-scooters could play a role as a vital part of everyday journeys – particularly the first and last miles between home, transport hubs like bus and train stations, and in the University situation as transport across the campus.

“The trial will give us valuable information as to how they can be used, and people's views of them as a mode of transport.”

Joe Lewin, CEO at Zwings, said: “It is great to see how many Keele University students are so excited by the introduction of the e-scooter rental scheme to the campus. We recognise that we now play an important role in supporting students and key workers to travel at a social distance in a sustainable manner. We are working in close accordance with local representatives in Newcastle-under-Lyme, including the NHS and Keele University, to make additional scooters and parking bays available to best serve the needs of the local community. With a further enhancement to our sanitation initiatives we are providing an effective alternative to public bus services during Covid-19.”

Holly Brooks, Union Development and Democracy Officer, trialled the e-scooters on campus and said: “I think the e-scooters will be a great addition to Keele student life. They’re easy to use and definitely pack a punch, which is certainly needed for travelling up Keele bank. The e-scooters are very affordable too, they’re cheaper than a taxi and better for the environment. I can’t wait to use them again.”

Fourth year student Qasim Enver believes they will be a new eco-friendly mode of transport.

Qasim said: “The e-scooters are a fantastic and innovative mode of transport which are eco-friendly, they are also fun to ride and after having spent some time on them, I would want to go on them again. I feel with Covid-19, a lot of people may not want to take public transport and this alternative to walking is brilliant to get from Keele to Newcastle-under-Lyme. Overall, I feel this is a great thing for the students at Keele.”