E-scooters have popped up everywhere over lockdown with Cheltenham, Gloucester and Bristol gaining them in the last 2 months. But how useful and cost-effective are they for students?
‘Zwings’ was launched in Cheltenham in October as part of a 12-month transport trial to make the town more efficient and eco-friendly. University of Gloucestershire student Megan Smith says: “They’re a great idea! So much cheaper than taxis and stuff!” It seems to be ideal for quick shopping trips but at 15p a minute it might not be a great choice for a cheap, fun activity with friends; totalling £9 an hour.
The speed of the E-scooters and the safety has also been a concern for users, Cheltenham local, Matty Pruney tweeted: “How can e-scooters be permitted in Cheltenham, without mandatory helmets!… This seems ludicrous to allow them on our streets.” Helmets are required to ride, or so it says on the app, but proof is not required. The maximum speed of these E-scooters is 10 mph which was described in a tweet by comedian and travel writer Dom Joly, as “laughable” and a “waste of time”.
It is not a surprise that people are worried, after an e-scooter accident in Gloucester on October 17th left a woman ‘seriously injured’, after being launched in the city that month. To ease people’s worries ‘Zwings’ has begun new night patrols in Cheltenham and Gloucester by Fleet marshals to make sure users are acting safely and responsibly.
On the brighter side of things, Gloucestershire County Council has supported this scheme to promote a ‘green’ restart to local travel and help reduce public transport use during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sasha Simms, a business student at the University of Gloucestershire says, “They make me feel safer than going on the bus, I think they came at the right time.”
There are 16 ‘Zwings’ stations around Cheltenham. You can see their availability via the app – which warns you of ‘slow speed’ zones in and around the town centre. To ride you must have a drivers license or provisional, which can be scanned on the app to prove eligibility but according to Sophia McCracken, another university student: “This takes for ages and sometimes doesn’t even work. You also have to pay a £1 deposit which is annoying. But they are really fun to ride and make travelling easier.”