A year-long trial of electric scooters in Canterbury is now being consulted on by Kent County Council.
The scheme aims to bring affordable, environmentally friendly electric scooters to the city as part of a Department for Transport national trial.
There will be four phases, with the first starting in November with e-scooter operator Bird providing a maximum of 100 e-scooters on and around the campuses of The University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.
During this phase, the service will be restricted to staff and students at both universities and to travelling within the University of Kent’s campus and along a predetermined route connecting both campuses only.
The route follows the cycle network beginning at the University of Kent, along the Eliot footpath and the connecting to the St Stephens area, through Beverly Meadow and over The Causeway towards Northgate. It then connects to Canterbury Christ Church University on North Holmes Road via Victoria Row and Artillery Street.
From February the trial will expand to include Canterbury West train station with the potential to add more e-scooters near to the station itself.
If successful, in May, the third phase will begin expanding the scheme to cover the city centre including Canterbury East train station and Canterbury bus station.
From August the final phase could be rolled out, offering e-scooters to all residents and visitors right across Canterbury, alongside ‘Park and Scoot’ at the city’s three Park and Ride sites.
KCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: “Whilst it is established how these vehicles are used and how they interact with other highway users, the scooters will be limited to a set route between the two campuses to provide connections to shared services.
“It is our hope that in due course everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of this sustainable travel as part of their commute, offering an alternative to car travel, with an ambition to help reduce congestion and improve air quality in Canterbury.”
The scheme will help inform government as to whether this form of ‘micromobility’ should be allowed on the highway network and, if so, in what way.
During the trial, the e-scooters will use the same road space as bicycles. They will not be permitted to travel on the pavement, or outside of the trial area.
Riders must be over 18 and will be required to hold a full or provisional driving licence.
Helmet use will be strongly promoted, with free helmets made available and training will be required to ensure appropriate etiquette is adopted.
The project is the result of an ongoing working partnership between the Department for Transport, Kent County Council, Canterbury City Council, Kent Police, The University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and our chosen operator, Bird Rides UK.
KCC wants to hear residents’ views throughout the trial and these can be made at www.kent.gov.uk/escootertrial until Monday, May 3.