New Salford e-scooter trial launches with promise to prioritise safety

The extension of the trial with Salford City Council and TfGM until the end of the year has now been confirmed.

Safety for e-scooters in Salford has been made a priority by the company that launched them after initial concerns raised by council.

Lime has announced it will launch its Gen4 e-scooter in Salford by June as part of a new £1 million investment in Greater Manchester.

It follows the success and positive reception of the city’s e-scooter trial, with Lime recently reaching 250,000 e-scooter rides in the city – 190,000 of which were made in the past 12 months alone. The extension of the trial with Salford City Council and TfGM until the end of the year has now been confirmed after concerns over rider safety raised by councillors – where public doubters were proved wrong with only one accident involving the scooters during the trial period.

Conor Chaplin, Public Policy at Lime said: “We consider the safety of our vehicles, those riding them and members of the public our biggest priority.

“Part of our commitment includes having a wide range of safety features incorporated into our software such as geofencing of low-speed and no-ride zones, real-time GPS tracking accurate to 30cm and on board vehicle sensors that alert us when a scooter leaves the service area or if damage is incurred. All this means we can control how the scooter behaves in real time based on its geographical location, whether that is slowing it down or completely stopping it when required.

“To support this even further we have an experienced operations team based in Salford who regularly patrol the service area, which has resulted in minimal damage to our scooters in Salford over the course of the trial, with 99.99 percent of Lime trips ending without incident.

“This summer, we’ll also be rolling out enhanced pavement riding detection technology to warn riders against this and will apply fines where necessary, as well as re-marking all of our mandatory parking bays. Our recent investment demonstrates our commitment to Salford and Greater Manchester.

“With so many riders from across the city-region embracing Lime e-scooters, and city officials committed to creating a greener transport network, we recognise the region as a national leader in adopting innovative new transport services. We have ambitions to be a long-term transport option in the area and are hugely excited to launch our latest innovation – the Gen4 scooter.

“The Gen4 will provide a new and improved rider experience to the residents of Salford and strengthen the role Lime e-scooters can play in offering a reliable, sustainable alternative to cars in Greater Manchester.”

E-scooter trials to date

Lime’s e-scooter trial in Salford has seen 60,000 riders cover a total distance of 420,000km, saving an estimated 14 tonnes of carbon emissions. 90 per cent of these trips have been made by repeat riders who have made Lime a part of their regular travel habits, taking on average 2 trips each week.

The investment includes locally employed policy and operational staff, funding for e-scooter research at the University of Salford, and promotional campaigns like Lime to the Polls which recently gave riders free rides to and from local election polling stations. Lime has also partnered with the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity to tackle homelessness across the city-region.

Part of its Lime’s ‘Lime Hero’ programme, the initiative means riders can choose to round up the cost of their Lime ride to the nearest £1 in the Lime app, with the difference donated to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity.

Nicola Kane, head of Strategic Planning, Research and Innovation for Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “TfGM is very pleased with how the e-scooter rental trial in Salford has performed to-date. Running trials helps us to understand how new modes of transport like e-scooters contribute to our strategic objectives, including our ambition for 50 % of all journeys in Greater Manchester to be made by more sustainable transport modes by 2040. We are pleased to see the introduction of Lime’s latest Gen4 model in Salford, which should enhance rider experience and overall user safety, and we will continue to carefully evaluate the scheme to understand how it contributes to our vision for a fully integrated and sustainable transport network.”