Liverpool’s most famous transport option is, of course, the ferry cross’ the Mersey.
But that only gets you to the Wirral and back. Visitors who want to see much more of the city from the Royal Albert Dock to Sefton Park should investigate micro-mobility options introduced by Liverpool City Council including the CityBike scheme and recently-arrived Voi electric scooters.
Voi’s bright coral e-scooters arrived in Liverpool in October, and people have flocked to try out the new vehicles. Voi users have travelled more than 480,000 km already, with 36,500 people hitching a ride from the Baltic Triangle up to Vauxhall or the waterfront to the Georgian Quarter.
Already there have been some great stories about how Liverpudlians are using Voi. For some, scooters make it easier to get across town, as well as providing a fast and affordable way to get home. For others, it’s helping them to get out and about and enjoy the fresh air, something that has become a lifeline during the recent lockdowns. Key emergency workers such as NHS staff are using them to hitch free rides to the Alder Hey Hospital and the Royal Liverpool Hospital for work under the Voi 4 Heroes pass, whilst a group of musicians even used the scooters to perform ukulele concerts for elderly residents.
Here’s everything you need to know about taking an e-scooter around Liverpool’s best-loved landmarks.
Please remember, England is currently in a national lockdown and only essential travel and journeys are permitted.
Why are there scooters in Liverpool?
Last year, the UK’s Department for Transport allowed local authorities to pilot shared e-scooters. Councils across the country, including Liverpool City Council, are testing the scooters to see how the vehicles can help people move around cities in a sustainable, carbon-free and socially distant way without needing to rely on cars.
How does it work?
To hire a scooter, you need to be aged 18 or over and have a provisional or full driving licence. You can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for Android and sign up. Then, find a scooter nearby and unlock it by scanning the QR code on the handlebars. And off you go.
Voi encourages all e-scooter riders to wear helmets and make sure to be aware of other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and cars when you’re on your travels.
How much does it cost?
It costs £1 to unlock the scooter, and then a ride costs £0.20 per minute. Unlimited daily passes and monthly passes are available for £9.99 and £39 respectively.
Voi offers a range of discounts for riders. If you’re an NHS worker or have a Blue Light Card, it’s currently free for you to ride a scooter thanks to the Voi 4 Heroes pass, to help you get to and from work without having to use public transport. Students or staff at Liverpool University, LJMU or Liverpool Hope University can receive a 20% discount on Voi day and monthly passes with Voi 4 Students. As well, the Voi 4 All pass means riders who hold a valid HC2 certificate can receive a 75% discount on day and monthly passes.
Fill in this application form and once you receive a confirmation email, you’re ready to scoot at a discount.
What are the scooter rules?
There are a few things to be aware of before you start scooting. As with any crowded city, e-scooter riders frequently have to share space – be considerate and mindful of other users, especially those who are vulnerable like children, older people or those with disabilities.
Riders should wear helmets if they can. They should also make sure to be aware of their surroundings when they’re riding, particularly other road users.
As well, it’s illegal to ride an e-scooter on the pavement and riders can be fined. Each Voi scooter has a number plate to help identify riders who may be behaving badly.
Riders can scoot around in the authorised trial zone. This includes the waterfront, up to Everton and Anfield, Wavertree and Sefton Park and even out to Allerton and Woolton. Grey zones on the Voi map are areas you can’t ride in, so don’t try taking a ride all the way out to Bootle.
All Voi riders are encouraged to complete the Ride Like Voila online traffic school. It only takes 15 minutes to complete and educates riders on traffic rules, signs and signals, parking, and general tips on how to use the scooter and ride safely.
Voi has ambassadors around the city who are on hand to ensure people are riding safely and carefully. If you have any questions, you can speak to them or find handy tips on safer riding in the Voi app. We all need to take responsibility for riding safely, within the rules.
Where can my scooter be parked at the end of the ride?
Voi e-scooters are dockless, which means they can be parked in specific areas or zones around the city. Riders can find these zones and spots in the Voi app which were created in collaboration with Liverpool City Council as the most suitable places to park.
The spots are highlighted in the app in green, for incentivised parking areas which gives you money off your next ride for parking here, and in blue to showcase recommended parking areas. No-park zones are in red on the app – rides can’t be finished in a no-park zone.
It’s important that scooters are parked safely and aren’t obstructing the pavement, a cycle lane, a driveway or a building entrance. Voi recommends that riders park on a section of the pavement or other designated parking area that is unobtrusive to pedestrians, especially vulnerable road users such as those with visual or mobility impairments, children, or the elderly.
How fast can the scooters go?
Voi scooters cannot go faster than 15.5mph, just like an electric bike. There is a beginner’s mode in the app that sets the maximum speed to 10mph for new users.
Voi uses geofencing to mark out slow zones where the scooters are kept to 5mph to keep Voi riders and other road users and pedestrians safe. Slow speed zones are mapped in yellow on the app, whilst grey zones mean you can’t ride a scooter in this area, like in Liverpool One, for instance. Private e-scooters, which are illegal to ride unless on private land or with the express permission of a landowner, can travel at much higher speeds. However, the Voi scooters are capped in order to ensure everyone is safe when an e-scooter is in use.
Why are e-scooters being trialled in Liverpool?
This pilot of e-scooters for hire aims at encouraging people to switch to carbon-free, socially-distanced forms of travel. If we want to live in healthier cities, without pollution that makes us ill, then carbon-free transport alternatives like scooters are essential to help achieve this.
Voi’s scooters will be available to rent until at least October 2021. Voi and the council are working together to monitor their usage and ensure everyone can benefit from this micro-mobility revolution. So go on: hop on a Voi scooter and take a ride and let us know how you get on.