E-scooter trial in Rochdale comes to an end - what happens next with controversial public transport scheme?

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The two-wheeled vehicles could be hired for 12 months in the town - but unlike the other site in Greater Manchester where they are being tried out, Rochdale has not extended the trial period.

The trial of e-scooters in a Greater Manchester town has come to an end.

It is no longer possible to hire a Lime e-scooter in Rochdale after it was decided that it would not bring in an extension to the pilot scheme.

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The two-wheeled vehicles have been being tried out for 12 months.

But unlike the trial in Salford, it has been decided that it is not necessary to continue trying out e-scooters in Rochdale for a further six months.

The transport company says the trial has been a success, but e-scooter schemes across the country have been met with strong opposition, particularly from groups representing disabled people.

What has happened to the Rochdale e-scooter scheme?

For the past 12 months it has been possible to rent e-scooters operated by the firm Lime in Rochdale as the two-wheeled mode of transport was trialled.

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Now, though, it has been decided that there is no need to continue with the pilot.

Lime said it has been a massive success, with 3,000 riders taking over 12,000 trips and racking up some 20,000km.

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The firm estimated that as a result of the e-scooters being available some 3,000 car journeys were taken off the road in Rochdale.

The authorities have now said the data gathered during the 12 months will be analysed and lessons from it taken on board.

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Several other trials across the UK have concluded after the year with no further extensions, and a list of all the places where e-scooters are being tried out is available on the Government website.

What has been said about the trial scheme?

Paul Moore, interim assistant director of economy, planning and development at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The council took part in the e-scooter trial as we are keen to explore options around sustainable urban transport, particularly for short journeys.

“The trial with the organisation Lime was for 12 months with an option to extend for a further six months.

“The council has chosen not to extend the option but will, however, continue to work with the relevant parties to analyse the findings of the trial and any lessons to be learned by this pilot.”

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Conor Chaplin, public policy at Lime UKI, said: The 12-month e-scooter trial in Rochdale has been a great success both in introducing a sustainable new form of transport into the town and helping Lime, Rochdale Borough Council, and Transport for Greater Manchester to understand what a future Greater Manchester-wide e-scooter hire scheme may look like.”

Why have e-scooters been controversial?

The roll-out of the e-scooter trials has not been without controversy, and opponents of the vehicles have hit out at the Greater Manchester schemes along with others across the UK.

Disability groups, particularly those supporting blind and partially-sighted people, have strongly criticised the introduction of the vehicles, saying they make town and city centres no-go areas for people with sight impairments and are a fire risk.

Politicians have also expressed alarm about the fire safety of e-scooters in council chambers, while a number of transport authorities banned them from their networks for the same reason.

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What are the rules around riding e-scooters?

E-scooters can only be ridden on public roads or in cycle lanes if they are vehicles involving in the trial schemes and within the boundaries of those pilots.

Privately-owned e-scooters can only be ridden on private land with the permission of whoever owns it.

The Government’s website warns that private e-scooter use on the public roads could lead to fines, penalty points on licences and the vehicle being impounded.

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