Dublin e-scooter start-up Zipp Mobility has been approved to run a 12-month e-scooter trial scheme in Taunton, the county town of Somerset.

Zipp Mobility, which was successfully awarded the contract following a competitive tender process that received submissions from a number of other international e-scooter operators, will be creating at least four local full-time jobs for the duration of the trial.

Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council has received approval from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to operate the scheme which is scheduled to commence in late October.

“E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic”

E-scooters were made legal for use on UK roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks in selected trial areas in July. Since then, more than 35 local authorities have submitted bids to the DfT, including SWT Council. It submitted a proposal for an e-scooter trial scheme in line with its commitment to climate and environmental responsibility, working towards achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2030.

“SWT is in the process of approving a district-wide plan as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, and has already implemented several initiatives to help create a more sustainable future for everyone,” said Cllr Peter Pilkington, executive member for Climate, SWT Council

“I am delighted that we have been successful in our bid to be part of the trial scheme and to have secured Zipp Mobility as our operator. E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

In advance of the e-scooter trial scheme going live SWT Council and Zipp Mobility will be holding a series of training and education days for members of the public. In addition to this, the Council and Zipp will be engaging with local representatives and groups in order to ensure this trial is tailor-made for the area and has a positive impact on the community.

Will O’Brien, Vice-President of Growth and Government Affairs, Zipp Mobility said, “Somerset West and Taunton Council’s commitment to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 is among the most ambitious in the country. We are excited to work with such an environmentally-conscious local authority and help them on their journey to meeting this goal through the delivery of a world-class e-scooter trial.”

Designed in Ireland

Two yellow-coloured scooters.
 

The Zipp Mobility e-scooter has been carefully designed with safety in mind. It features an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, 10-inch airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking, a wide base and a low centre of gravity. The scooters are also equipped with anti-viral handlebar wraps that kill 99.98pc of coronaviruses to help eliminate Covid-19 transmission risk.

Zipp Mobility, founded by Charlie Gleeson in 2019, is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD). The company is also an Enterprise Ireland High-Potential Start-Up (HPSU) client company.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Somerset West and Taunton Council for this trial,” Charlie Gleeson, CEO and Founder, Zipp Mobility said. “At Zipp Mobility we place a strong emphasis on safety and quality of service and we are excited to bring this model to the district.”

SWT Council and Zipp Mobility are working with the Avon and Somerset Police (ASP) to help educate people about these laws.

Richard McKiernan, Traffic Management Officer at ASP, said: “Whilst the trial offers a new and exciting way of moving around the area, we strongly recommend that users attend one of the training sessions before taking to the road. These sessions will help give an understanding of the rules of their use, as well as emphasising the importance of personal safety while on the road.

“I would urge anyone who owns an e-scooter to take note of the laws around their use. Remember, an e-scooter is a ‘vehicle’ and that any misuse can lead to penalty points being endorsed on your driving licence.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 13 October, 2020

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