New West Midlands e-scooter hire scheme launched

A new e-scooter hire scheme has been launched on the streets of Birmingham today.

The first phase of the scheme will see 200 e-scooters made available to hire in the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, with a further 700 to be rolled out in a phased manner by the end of September.

Beryl was appointed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Birmingham City Council as the new operator for e-scooter rental trials in the city.

The previous trial, provided by Swedish company Voi, came to an end in March.

The e-scooters will be available to hire alongside hundreds of West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes in central Birmingham under the Beryl app.

In a major change from the earlier scheme in Birmingham, these e-scooters will need to be collected from and returned to a designated dock or parking bay – often located alongside the cycle hire docking stations.

Beryl CEO and co-founder, Phil Ellis, said: “We’re really excited to be working with another of the UK’s major city regions and I’m confident that our experience and innovation can help our e-scooters become a crucial cog in the region’s integrated urban transport network.

“As well as being fun, easy to use and cost-effective, our e-scooters provide a sustainable alternative to the car that helps reduce traffic congestion, cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality.

“They’re particularly useful for first and last mile journeys and a great way to connect with other urban transport systems or commute to and from the office.

“We hope that their arrival on the streets of Birmingham will encourage as many people as possible to switch to more sustainable transport.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “Over the last three years, e-scooters became a fixture of Birmingham’s transport network – often proving to be a popular alternative to cars for shorter journeys and helping to reduce road traffic congestion.

“After what was always designed to be an initial e-scooter trial, we took the opportunity of a break in contract to try a different approach with a new operator. I would like to thank regular e-scooter users for their patience during the transition to that new operator – the UK based firm Beryl.

“Central to Beryl’s approach is a docked or parked system which will help reduce clutter on the roadside – ensuring tidier streets and a better experience for pedestrians. Another key element – crucial given previous incidents and lessons to be learnt – is putting in place more safety checks and enhanced verification of users in order to deter underage riders and other instances of misuse.

“E-scooters must be operated responsibly and – in partnership with Beryl – we will continuously monitor these new measures to ensure local people can be reassured about what we’re offering.”

Cllr Liz Clements, cabinet member for transport with Birmingham City Council added: “E-scooters provide another sustainable form of transport and I’m pleased to see the extra safety measures with this trial.

“Being able to use them alongside cycle hire, with many of the parking bays located alongside cycle docking stations, means people can hop from one to other and venture even further afield on sustainable, active transport.”

The e-scooters will cost £1 to unlock and 20p per minute to use. They can be hired via the Beryl app, available for download on the App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android users. Available e-scooters, Beryl bays and operating zones are all visible in the app.

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