E-scooter trial in Oxford

We have over 650 electric scooters (e-scooters) available for public hire in and around Oxford.

Visitors and residents of Oxford can now hire zero-emission e-scooters as part of a government trial. Our rental scheme is operated by Voi Technology and aims to support key workers and people getting back to work and leisure in Oxford.

Scooters can be used on the road and cycle lanes within the trial area but not on pavements. The scooters are tracked by GPS and regularly serviced. 

Getting started

To ride a scooter, download the Voi app and upload a copy of your valid driving licence.

It costs £1 to unlock the scooter and then 20p per minute of the ride. There are also several subscriptions to make unlimited rides at a fixed rate. Voi is offering discounted rides to students, those of low income, NHS and emergency service staff.

Warning Privately owned e-scooters are illegal to ride on a public road, cycle lane or pavement. You can only legally ride an e-scooter that has been hired through this trial.

Rules

  • You must 18 years old or over
  • You must hold a provisional or full driving licence
  • Don't allow others to use your Voi account or driving licence. You are responsible for any misuse
  • Don't ride on the pavement - only cycle lanes and roads
  • Don't ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Only one person per e-scooter
  • Scooters will be available for hire 4am - 10pm.

How to find one

They can be found in various parking sites in Oxford. These locations can be seen on the Voi app and our interactive map. Voi e-scooters are easily identified by their distinctive coral colour. Voi is written in white on the scooter’s handlebar shaft.

An initial 205 parking sites have been identified but these sites are subject to regular review throughout the trial. All sites are of equal size and should only ever see a total of ten e-scooters parked within each geofenced zone.

In Oxford, users can only end their rides in mandatory parking zones, identified clearly in the app.

Each e-scooter is tracked via GPS. We have created a virtual boundary with slow-ride and no-ride zones. If an e-scooter is taken outside this virtual boundary software will trigger to reduce the speed reduce gradually. Users can see their locations and operating zone on the in-app map.

  • All the scooters are limited to 12 mph
  • In a no-ride zone, the motor is slowed to 0 mph. The scooter must be returned to the operating area. Failure to do so will result in a £25 fine against the user’s account.
  • In a slow-ride zone, the motor is capped to either 5 or 8 mph, depending on location.

Using an e-scooter

Voi has created videos on how to ride a scooter safely and other top safety tips.

There is a local team employed by Voi to track usage and manage the distribution of e-scooters throughout the day. This means so that they are available where users want them.

For the initial launch, scooters will be available for hire 4am - 10pm. These hours will be reviewed and amended based on demand.

They can't be folded or collapsed in any way and can't be taken on public transport.

How to park

There is advice on the Voi website about how to park properly. Make sure you park where it’s accessible for other users (never indoors or in a courtyard). It should never block pathways, accessibility ramps, driveways, crosswalks or cars.

You need a licence

Riders must have a provisional or full driving licence. This is mandated by the Department of Transport (DfT), and Voi also believes that it helps ensure people know the rules of the road and will be more responsible riders. Provisional licenses can be obtained in one week, through an online application. Riders cannot begin their first ride without first verifying their licence in the app. Verification is performed by Onfido, a trusted technology that verifies people’s identities using a photo-based identity document, a selfie and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Insurance

Voi has also decided to go beyond the DfT requirements and has included personal accident coverage insurance for all trips. Meaning users have motor third-party insurance.

Reporting problems and feedback

If you encounter any issues with the e-scooter trial, such as the location of parked e-scooters, misplaced scooters, or inappropriate riding behaviour including underage riding (below the age of 18), you should report it to Voi.

Each e-scooter has a unique four-digit alphanumeric number plate located on the side and back of the frame to help identify and report anti-social usage.

Enforcement

To ensure scooters are used safely and in accordance with the local traffic regulations, Voi has a three-strike policy through which users who do not follow the e-scooter rules will see their accounts blocked temporarily or permanently. 

With the first strike the user is blocked for a week and is advised to review the safety content provided by Voi (online and via the RideLikeVoila), on the second strike the user is blocked for a month and has to complete RideLikeVoila before being able to use the service again on the third strike the user is blocked permanently and won't be able to use the service again.

The following behaviours may lead to the suspension of a Voi account (immediate and permanent suspension for underage riding and the three-strike policy is applied for the rest of the offences).

  • Twin riding
  • Underage riding
  • Riding under the influence of alcohol or other substances
  • Riding on the pavement
  • Riding outside the Voi operational zone
  • Riding dangerously on the road
  • Parking scooters incorrectly

Feedback

For feedback on the wider trial please contact the team

Background to the trial

This trial is one of a number of trials permitted in local areas across the UK, in response to social distanced movement and transport challenges arising from coronavirus (COVID-19).

E-scooters used in the trial are approved by vehicle orders issued by the Secretary of State. 

These trials are pursued within the scope of the Emergency Active Travel Plan announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) on 9 May 2020 and are conducted under the Electric Scooter Trials and Traffic Signs (Coronavirus) Regulations and General Directions 2020 (SI 2020/663).

Objectives

  1. Support safe commuting to work and education as an alternative while social distancing measures are in place
  2. Reduce private car use and reduce congestion
  3. Contribute towards the reduction in air pollution and carbon emissions
  4. Test perceptions and attitudes towards new mobility solutions

E-scooters provide a convenient and accessible form of travel for point-to-point- journeys or the first and last mile of public transport. This helps to reduce the need for short car journeys, improving air quality. They will also contribute towards the reduction in congestion and carbon emissions.

The plans also form part of our response to the government’s active travel grant awarded in 2020. In Oxford, the scooters will reap the benefits of a freshly reinvigorated active travel network from this funding.

Further information and guidance

After the trial

Voi and Oxfordshire County Council will evaluate the data based on previously agreed-upon terms. The DfT will evaluate all the trials separately through its own monitoring and evaluation exercise. We will publish a report on this website about the future of the programme.