Voi launches parking racks in Northampton but e-scooters can still be left elsewhere
The racks are located outside the train station, close to two parks and in the town centre
A total of 40 parking spaces are now available across Northampton for the hundreds of rentable e-scooters currently being trialled in the town.
Voi Technology launched the e-scooter trial in Northampton in September 2020 and has since seen a number of issues with the red scooters being left in the middle of pavements, in flower beds and more, causing safety issues.
Today (March 15) the company is upping its ‘incentivised parking’ by launching four parking racks across the town, whereby users are given discounts on their next rides if they leave the scooters at a rack.
The racks, which have space for 10 scooters each, will be available near the railway station, in Mercers Row - at the bottom of Abington Street, at The Racecourse and in Beckets Park, as these locations are ‘popular’ with riders.
Northampton is the first town in the UK to receive the racks, which are part of the company’s pledge to ‘simplify parking, increase safety and limit street clutter’ and the move comes just weeks after the riding area for the town was extended to include Billing, Wootton and Hunsbury.
The scooters are however still permitted to be left in public places where the next user can pick them up.
Jason Smithers, Cabinet Member for Highways and Place for Northamptonshire County Council, said: “Our Voi e-scooter trials are already providing a real boost in improving access to greener, more sustainable and affordable transport in the local area.
“We are keen to work with Voi to improve the service even more, investing in parking infrastructure to increase safety and limit street clutter for all road users.
“Of course, rider safety is our number one concern and, with this in mind, we ask that users continue to adhere to the lockdown rules from central government, using the e-scooters and e-bikes only for essential journeys at the present time.”
Voi’s Oslo operations piloted a parking rack solution last year and the version now being used in Northampton has been improved to include covered side plates, a recommendation from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
The company is working with the RNIB to understand the needs of blind and partially sighted pedestrians, and is now taking steps to implement the organisation’s recommendations to make e-scooters safer for pedestrians with sight loss.
This comes after a sight loss group spoke out about the scooters in Northampton last year.
Richard Corbett for Voi, added: “As springtime encourages more people to ride our e-scooters, our focus is on ensuring safety and ease of use.
“Our recent research in Oslo showcases the true benefits of proper parking infrastructure, and we’re thrilled to kick off our new racks in Northampton as a part of our commitment to safe and accessible e-scooter parking.
“Our teams have been busy deploying these new racks, which compliment other safety projects, including on-going rider education and close collaboration with organisations representing vulnerable groups .”
Voi also has plans to deploy docked parking racks to its other e-scooter trial areas too, although plans are not yet in place for racks in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough, Rushden and Higham Ferrers.
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