South Somerset District Council’s micro-mobility trial FAQs
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions. If you have your own question, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. What are the e-scooter trials?
The Department for Transport (DfT) has introduced trials of rental e-scooters, to aid response to COVID measures, and to inform any future legislation on e-scooter use. The South Somerset trial is due to last for 12 months starting from 22/10/2020 and will provide insight into how e-scooters can contribute to a healthy and sustainable local transport ecosystem.
Through the trials, the DfT can regulate and monior the introduction of e-scooters as a convenient, affordable and sustainable method of transport across the UK. The trials were accelerated in order to alleviate pressure on public transport while social-distancing measures are in place, and provide a viable alternative to private car usage in the long-term.
2. What is a Zwings e-scooter?
Zwings uses market-leading e-scooter vehicles which are specifically designed for sharing purposes by specialist companies and can not be bought anywhere online. These vehicles are legally authorised to be in use in the trial by DfT. Our model has been designed to provide a safe, sustainable and enjoyable transport experience, while being robust enough to last 24 months. They also have swappable batteries to enhance sustainability and to maximise availability for the next rider. We are working on the next generation of e-scooters which we will be excited to launch in the coming months. We would like to be clear, all non-Zwings e-scooters in use anywhere in the county outside of private land are illegal and can lead to the rider receiving 6 points on their driving license and a £300 fine.
3. Who is delivering the service in South Somerset?
Zwings was selected as SSDC’s preferred supplier following a competitive procurement process. Zwings is the leading British micro-mobility operator, whose goal is to provide access to affordable, convenient and safe transport across the county.
4. How does Zwings and the e-scooter trial support South Somerset District Council’s local objectives?
The e-scooter operations support the local COVID-19 response and contribute to SSDC’s local objectives, including:
- SSDC’s ambition to be a leading Council in developing and adopting a Green Agenda to promote a sustainable environment, economy and communities.
- SSDC’s desire to limit non-essential car journeys through providing alternative sustainable transport methods.
- SSDC’s commitment to develop a micro-mobility infrastructure plan for Yeovil as part of the Yeovil Refresh initiative in partnership with the transport authority (Somerset County Council).
- The introduction of an Access Plan for Chard to encourage walking and cycling as part of the Chard Regeneration Programme.
- SSDC’s ambition for sustainable travel, including the assess options to improve community transport provision.
- SSDC’s plans for addressing air quality, including through modal shift.
- SSDC’s commitment to achieving a significant reduction in carbon emissions and improving carbon offset rates across the geography of South Somerset by 2030.
- COVID-19 response – providing safe sustainable alternatives to support public transport.
5. What are the benefits of South Somerset participating in the trial?
Participating in the DfT’s e-scooter trials affords South Somerset District Council the opportunity to introduce e-scooters into the local ecosystem in a regulated, authorised manner, that allows communities the chance to engage with these vehicles positively, and ensures their benefits are maximised. The trial will inform both SSDC and the DfT with crucial insights into the market, user behaviour, and public perception of e-scooters, while also providing insight into how e-scooters can be used to complement the district’s existing transport modes in the future.
6. How will Zwings manage the service?
Zwings is responsible for the provision, operation and maintenance of all legal, rental e-scooters in South Somerset. Key responsibilities include making sure that the vehicles are sanitised per a rigorous COVID-19 response procedure, as well as ensuring the e-scooters are charged and in good working order. Zwings’ locally hired team will ensure excellent compliance with parking regulations as well as maintaining a healthy spread of available vehicles across the trial area and assisting the police on reports of irresponsible behaviour.
7. How do I contact Zwings for support?
If you have any questions, feedback or constructive suggestions, please contact our team at Support@zwings.co.uk or call us at 020 3882 0611.
8. How much will the e-scooters cost?
The standard cost is £1 to unlock and then £0.15 pence per minute. Zwings also plans to introduce a range of credit packages and subscriptions to ensure the best customer experience. Users can pay for rides through the app.
9. Who is able to ride an e-scooter?
As per the DfT’s requirements, in order to ride an e-scooter riders must be at least 16 years old and hold a provisional driving licence at a minimum (please note that some international licences are also accepted). Zwings has a two-factor driving licence ID authentication check in-app as part of the registration process. This process will ensure that no one can use an e-scooter without having a verified licence. Users require a smartphone app to unlock the e-scooter.
10. Where are e-scooters able to ride?
The DfT has determined that e-scooters will be placed in the same category as electrically-assisted pedal cycles (EPACS). E-scooters will therefore be allowed to ride on roads and cycleways but absolutely must not be used on pavements. Through close consultation with representatives of vulnerable groups, Zwings is on a mission to educate riders of the implications of misuse. Riding on the pavement or riding with a passenger can lead to accidents and can cause harm to pedestrians.
Any reports of misuse can also lead to account holders receiving a fine. Examples of misuse include:
- No attempt to park within a designated bay;
- No attempt to end ride.
In these instances, riders can receive up to a £15 fine. An additional £10 recovery fee will be charged if left the vehicle is left outside the geo-fence/operational area.
- Pavement riding;
- Double riding/Two people on a vehicle.
In these instances, riders can receive up to a £40 fine, with the risk of an account ban if the offence is repeated. Our team can decide to issue an immediate ban to the rider(s) depending on the severity of the offence.
- Repeated violations;
- Causing an accident;
- Intoxicated riding;
- Enabling unlicensed riding.
In these instances, a formal report to the police will be issued, along with a permanent deactivation of the Rider(s) account, depending on the flagrancy of the transgression / pending investigation. Additionally, a fine for vandalism dependent on damages up to a maximum of £75 will be charged to the Rider.
Zwings reinvests all of the penalty fees that we receive from misuse back into initiatives that deliver safety education and rule enforcement as well as local community projects.
11. What is the maximum speed of e-scooters and how will this be controlled?
The maximum speed of a rental e-scooter is 15.5mph. This is a requirement set by DfT. Zwings’ e-scooters are speed-capped below this, at 12.5mph, to provide communities additional reassurance. Zwings also establishes ‘slow-speed’ zones across all trial areas, in which the top speed of the vehicles is reduced further, to around walking pace. These zones are established in collaboration with SSDC.
12. How far can a Zwings e-scooter go?
Zwings’ e-scooters can travel up to 30 miles on a single charge. When the battery display on the e-scooter drops to a single bar, riders need to return the e-scooter to a bay.
13. What if a Zwings e-scooter runs out of battery?
If an e-scooter runs out of battery, a rider needs to wheel the e-scooter to the nearest e-scooter parking bay (which is labelled with a letter ‘P’ and a blue box on the Zwings app). When an e-scooter is returned to a parking bay with less than 30% charge, it will not be available to rent for the next customer.
14. How do I charge an e-scooter?
If an e-scooter is low on charge, you need to return it to the nearest parking bay. When a scooter is returned to a parking bay with less than 30% charge, it will not be available to rent for the next customer. A Zwings fleet technician will then visit the e-scooter to put it on charge.
15. How does Zwings ensure rider and community safety?
The safety of pedestrians, riders and other road users is Zwings’ top priority. The operator strives to make mobility safer and more sustainable for short urban trips. We maintain a dialogue with representatives of the visually impaired and other key stakeholder groups to continually enhance the safety of our rental schemes.
Zwings recognises that rider education and rule enforcement is essential to deliver any new transport service. The operator can deliver this through various communication channels both in person and digitally. Over the course of the trial, we will be running a series of safety workshops and demonstrations to show riders how to use the vehicles safely and to remind them of the rules of the road. This is reinforced through in-app presentations and social media campaigns to remind riders of how to ride responsibly and the negative implications of misuse, including points on their license.
Zwings also limits the permissible geographic range of the e-scooters through geo-fencing technology. The areas in which users can ride the vehicles are depicted within the app-map. Zwings’ e-scooters will safely and consistently depower until they come to a standstill should they enter a restricted zone or attempt to leave the service area.
16. What is Zwings’ COVID safety response?
Zwings’ COVID response protocols and hygiene measures are designed to protect riders and employees. Their field technicians disinfect and thoroughly clean each e-scooter up to 2 times a day using industry-grade spray. Zwings also recommends riders take all necessary precautions, including washing and sanitising hands, or wearing gloves, before and after completing each ride. During the height of the pandemic, the operator applied state-of-the-art Shieldex copper tape to the handle grips, which kills 99.98% of pathogens left on the surface – this further protects the riders and those that they come into contact with. Please visit Zwings’ COVID Safety page if you are interested in learning more.
17. How does Zwings discourage pavement riding?
Zwings continues to educate riders on how to ride safely and responsibly, and prioritise the safety of pedestrians and overall community experience of the trial. Zwings disseminates clear guidance to riders through in-app instructions and notifications, on-site signage, locally hired teams, safety-specific communications, and a variety of social media campaigns.
Zwings is committed to making sure vulnerable people, including the elderly, the partially sighted and those with disabilities, are considered and do not feel inconvenienced by e-scooter rental schemes. Zwings, as a community-first operator, is working towards implementing and managing e-scooter operations that benefit everyone – not just the riders.
18. How does Zwings support responsible scooting?
Zwings strives to educate the community about the benefits of e-scooters, and how to use them responsibly, while providing a platform for all members of the community to easily raise questions, submit feedback, or offer suggestions. Zwings aims to respond to all queries in a fast and efficient manner. Zwings has set time targets across all processes to ensure they offer a speedy service and immediately react to irresponsible riding, helping to ensure the community can engage with the trial as positively as possible.
For riders who are found to be scooting irresponsibly, Zwings has a 2 strike policy which can lead to a deactivation of the riders account and, depending on the flagrancy of the transgression, the involvement of the police and immediate ban.
Zwings also has various measures in place to reduce inappropriate parking: the parking areas are clearly highlighted on the Zwings app-map, as well as demarcated using markers and signage on site, to ‘double-lock’ rider awareness of the approved locations.
19. How are e-scooters restricted in unsuitable areas?
Zwings implements slow-speed and restricted zones within the wider permissible geo-fence, to ensure the operational geography allows for the undisruptive integration of e-scooters into each trial location. These are established collaboratively with South Somerset District Council, and designed to prevent e-scooter access to sensitive areas, such as pedestrianised streets. The operator remains flexible and adaptable on the shape and implementation process of restricted zones for the duration of the trial, and continuously responds to community suggestions in order to refine the scheme.
20. What is a geo-fence?
A geo-fence is a specified geographic perimeter, which has been designed in consultation with South Somerset District Council, that acts as an electronic barrier. GPS technology is used to determine whether an e-scooter is inside or outside the service area. Zwings’ e-scooters can only be ridden within geo-fenced trial areas and must be parked in designated bays. The vehicles are tracked, and staff monitor their whereabouts. They also have distinctive branding and a vehicle identification number.
21. Are Zwings riders and third parties covered by insurance?
Zwings has third-party and personal bodily insurance cover with Zego. This insurance policy is to cover possible injury or damage a rider suffers whilst using an e-scooter, and third-party liability insurance to cover damage or injury of property caused by e-scooters ridden by users. In case of a personal accident, any head injury suffered whilst the rider is not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident will not be covered.
Don’t Drink and Ride Policy. Zwings clearly state that using an e-scooter is the same as being in control of a motorised vehicle and drink riding is prohibited. If a user was intoxicated by alcohol or illegal substances and then had a crash, the insurer would pay out for a claim to the third party, however the insurer would not pay any personal accident cover for the intoxicated user. The insurer may then seek recovery for the incurred claims costs from the user of the e-scooter following investigation.
Underage user. If an underage user is able to somehow illegally use a Zwings e-scooter by someone with a driving license setting up as a member, unlocking the e-scooter for use by a minor, then the insurer can still pay out for the claim in the case of an accident that is the fault of the e-scooter rider. Our insurer will seek to recover the costs of the claim from the person who rented and unlocked the e-scooter. If a person fraudulently obtains access to the e-scooter, via a user or otherwise, the insurer will pay compensation to a third party but has a right to recover that money from the unapproved user.
22. What should I do if I see someone misusing a Zwings e-scooter?
Members of the public in South Somerset are strongly encouraged to report incidents of misuse they see to Zwings and ensure they detail the following when reporting the incident: what they saw, where it happened, what time it happened, and if noted, the vehicle’s unique three digit number plate. Please report this information via email directly to email@example.com.
23. How do I differentiate a Zwings e-scooter from an illegal private use e-scooter?
Zwings has introduced a new sky-blue coloured e-scooter design in South Somerset to make it much easier to differentiate between the legal DfT trial Zwings e-scooters and illegal privately owned ones, which are illegal to ride on public land.
24. What impact and social value will Zwings provide in South Somerset?
As a local British operator, Zwings has a deeply vested interest in delivering tailored social value to each community they work with, taking into account all local stakeholders. The operator recognises the responsibility to ensure the e-scooter service truly benefits the local community. Zwings has a number of initiatives tailored to South Somerset, such as co-marketing promotions, to boost local brands and assist the local economy’s post-lockdown recovery. Zwings is also committed to working with local community centres and charities to support South Somerset’s residents in an impactful way.
25. Does Zwings hire local staff?
All Zwings employees in South Somerset are hired locally, both as a means of providing jobs to the community, and to ensure the team has the requisite abundance of local knowledge to help shape and refine the trial so it best serves the towns where Zwings operates.
26. How does Zwings work with vulnerable groups?
Zwings is committed to making sure vulnerable people, including the elderly, the partially sighted and those with disabilities are considered and do not feel inconvenienced by our e-scooter rental schemes. The Protecting Vulnerable Groups Policy Statement provides further details on how Zwings, as a community-focused organisation, is working towards implementing and managing an e-scooter sharing scheme that benefits everyone – not just the riders.
Zwings engages with representatives of vulnerable groups on a monthly basis to ensure that their concerns are listened to and accommodated through the operations. If you are a representative of a vulnerable group and would like to get in touch, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
27. And lastly…How do I pronounce Zwings?
‘Zwings’ is one syllable long! Like ‘Swings’ with a ‘Z’!