Commuters taking part in a Council led trial to swap their car journey to work for a zero emission moped are getting to work quicker and saving money.
As part of its low carbon future mobility project, Solihull Council partnered with Silence UK last year to offer local residents in Dickens Heath the chance to test out a new state-of-the-art electric moped (e-moto). The initiative was designed to help understand how these types of electric vehicles can both reduce carbon emissions as well as the number of single-occupancy cars on the road, which helps to cut congestion and frees up space for public transport, especially along main roads.
With fuel prices continuing to soar not only do these types of vehicles offer commuters the chance to reduce their emissions but with an average running cost of 1 penny per mile they offer great savings too.
As part of the trial eligible residents, who live along the Stratford Road and regularly commute or travel by car, were invited to an initial taster session and test ride. 80% of those who took part said it had made them consider how they get around and whether they could do things differently. Once they had experienced riding the e-moped the majority of participants felt they could replace up to 50% of their car journeys
Following on from this test ride, participants were given the chance to opt-in to an extended, free-of-charge trial period, lasting between two and four weeks, during which they will were encouraged to swap their regular car journeys and use an e-moped instead.
One resident who got involved in the pilot was Nick Chadaway from Dickens Heath. Nick works in logistics and usually splits his time between working from home and commuting to Digbeth in Birmingham by car.
"I’ve really enjoyed using an e-moped to get around over the last three weeks. I found that as I got more confident, my journey times got noticeably quicker. It also encouraged me to explore quieter routes which resulted in spending far less time in traffic and an overall more enjoyable experience.
“Despite energy bills going up, the cost of charging my e-moped at home was almost negligible compared to prices at the fuel pump and even switching vehicles for just three weeks has saved me some significant money.
“Before taking part in this trial and taking my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) I had never thought about using an e-moped, but it was very easy to pick up and just a lot of fun to ride.
“Another positive thing to come out of the experience is that I feel like it’s helped to make me a better driver when I am in the car. Although I felt safe, riding an e-moped forces you to think ahead a lot more and really look for potential hazards on the road. I’d definitely consider getting one of my own but in the meantime it’s made me think about my overreliance on the car and encouraged me to dust off the old push-bike for some commuting in the better weather.
“I have seen how it can make some key journeys, including the commute and nipping to the shops cheaper, quicker and far more enjoyable.”
The trial scheme forms part of the wider West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) funded UK Central investment programme, which is delivering a wide range of projects, from walking and cycling improvement schemes to town centre regenerations.
Cllr Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, said:
“As more of us are going back into the office and returning to previous travel habits, we have a unique opportunity to look at how we might start to do things a bit differently, especially when it comes to how we get around.
"I’m really pleased that residents like Nick have had the opportunity to give the e-mopeds a go and I’m encouraged to hear that the experience has been such a positive one.
“Electric mopeds clearly have wide applications for couriering smaller items and food delivery but they also offer a clean, practical and affordable means of personal transport, and crucially an alternative to many shorter car journeys. This project is all about giving people the opportunity to try something different and see if they can be encouraged to leave the car at home. E-motos have the potential to cut congestion, improve air quality and, as we have seen, save commuters money."
Silence UK Founding Partner Mike Rose who have their ‘urban eco-mobility’ headquarters here in Solihull said:
“Working with Solihull Council we have been able to give people, that may not have otherwise considered riding an e-moto, the chance to try it out.
“It’s been great to hear all of the positive feedback as people discover that e-motos offer an environmentally friendly transport solution that is also cheaper to run.”
There are still a limited number of spaces available to take part in the trial for eligible Dicken’s Heath Residents. To find out more contact email@example.com. The current extended trial scheme will run until September; however, the Council hopes to continue its work to roll out similar initiatives across the borough.