The company behind the suspended e-scooter trial in Coventry has said it will pay for increased police patrols to stop the devices being used in an anti-social manner.
Voi has pledged to fund spot checks, with penalties including fines of £300, six points added to a licence and a ban on using the ‘green’ contraptions in the future.
The move is part of a slew of measures announced by the Swedish operator to enhance the reputation of e-scooters and improve safety for users and pedestrians.
The trial in Coventry, which was being run by the company alongside the city council, was suspended after just five days earlier this month following reports of riders weaving in and out of traffic and using pavements and other pedestrianised areas of the city centre.
Voi said e-scooters were “safe, convenient and environmentally friendly” but added “a few anti-social people” were “deliberately and persistently breaking the rules”.
The company also plans to fit licence plates to all of its machines – which is not a legal requirement in the UK but has been undertaken in Germany – and to double the number of ‘Voi ambassadors’ on the streets to help people ride safely and monitor use.
Birmingham and Northampton will be the first places where the police will be funded to increase patrols, with spot checks to ensure riders follow rules and are not under the influence of alcohol, Voi said.
Trials have also been launched in Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes, with similar schemes planned for places including York, Cambridge, Peterborough, Oxford, Liverpool, Norwich and Wolverhampton.
In July, the Government legalised e-scooters in England as part of measures to provide people with green travel options at a time of reduced public transport capacity. Riders must have a driving licence with a ‘category Q’ entitlement to use the devices, which have a maximum speed of 15.5mph.
A spokeswoman for Voi told Cycling Industry News: “Following discussions with Transport for the West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority, we are introducing some changes to the service to intensify our existing procedures to identify and tackle misuse.
“These police patrols form part of those measures.”
The spokesman added: “The trials we operate for Transport for the West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority are providing a new socially distant, environmentally friendly form of transportation across the region.
“We are passionate about shaping cities for people, reducing pollution and breaking traffic gridlock across Europe and now in the U.K. But we can only do this if people treat this new form of transport with care and responsibility.”
Voi has previously said it will be returning to Coventry “very soon”, with extra measures in place to stop rogue riders.