Opening date: 16/03/2021


Closing date: 30/11/2022


People who live, visit, work or study in Portsmouth and want to try a more sustainable way to travel can hire a Voi rental escooter as part of a Department for Transport trial on Portsmouth’s roads and cycle routes.

To be eligible to ride a Voi escooter, users must be 18 years old and over and hold at least a provisional driving licence. The first time a rider rents an escooter they will be asked to scan their driving license through the Voi app.

Top tips for a safe ride

  • Only ride on roads, cycle paths and shared-use paths
  • Never ride on pavements that are only for walking
  • Wear a helmet – it’s not required but it’s safer
  • Like with any other motor vehicle you must follow the highway code
  • Never drink and ride
  • Never ride with more than one person on the rental e-scooter
  • Never let someone else on the rental escooter during your ride
  • Before your first ride watch the Ridelikevoila safety training

To get started, download the Voi app for free from Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or visit Voi Scooters for more information.

If you see someone riding a Voi escooter dangerously, take a note of the escooter’s number plate and the time and please report to Voi.

To see the results of our consultations on escooters, visit Your City, Your Say

Privately-owned escooters remain illegal, except on private land and with the land owner’s permission.

Frequently asked questions

How are Voi continuing to help riders be Covid-safe?

All Voi escooters in Portsmouth are fitted with anti-bacterial handlebar grips to help minimise the spread of viruses. Made from rubber, they use a special nano-zinc oxide compound to combat bacteria and viruses which offers antibacterial, bactericidal and antiviral protection. All scooters are disinfected regularly, including every time a scooter is handled for a battery swap, re-balancing, or maintenance. Voi uses high-quality anti-viral cleansing agents that last up to 24 hours. Read more about Voi’s Covid measures and safety tips.

Please continue to follow the government guidance to stay safe from coronavirus.

How can I rent an escooter?

To be eligible to ride a Voi e-scooter, users must be 18 years old or over, and have at least a provisional driving licence, which must be scanned through to the Voi app when a rider rents their first escooter. For added safety, riders are encouraged to wear a helmet and take part in the Ridelikevoila training.

To get started, download the Voi app for free from Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store, or visit Voi Scooters to find out more.

How much will it cost to ride a rental e-scooter?

Voi rental escooters cost £1 to unlock and then 20p per minute of usage. Voi also offers 24-hour (at £10) and 30-day (at £40) subscriptions, allowing users to take an unlimited number of 45 minute rides at a fixed rate.

The company also offers discounts for students and those on a low income.

Can rental e-scooters go anywhere?

No. Using geofencing technology, the rental escooters are restricted to within the Portsmouth boundary. They can be used on shared-use paths, cycle paths and on the road.

There are no-ride zones and slow-speed zones for some areas. In the app, a map will also indicate areas where the escooter cannot be ridden and if a rider enters this area the escooter will automatically slow to a stop.

Please remember that rental escooters cannot be used on pavements where people walk, unless it is a clearly-marked, shared-use path.

 

Where can I find the rental escooters?

There is a wide selection of parking racks across the city and the the Voi app will help you find out to locate these.  You must start and end all journeys at the parking racks.

Where do I leave a rental escooter at the end of my journey?

All journeys must end at one of the parking racks, which can be found in the Voi app.

If a parking rack is full, try and find another one nearby which has spaces available. If this isn’t possible you can park the scooter appropriately by the rack, using the scooter’s stand, as long as it doesn’t cause any inconvenience to pedestrians. The scooter will then be picked up by Voi’s local team.

Voi have added an enhanced ‘End of Ride Photo’ in their safety features to encourage good parking behaviour amongst escooter riders. When a user uploads their photo to the app, Voi’s support team reviews the photo and will take action if the safe parking guidelines have not been followed.

Read more in Voi’s guide to parking

If you see any unsafe parking or abandoned escooters take a note of the escooter’s number plate and the time and report to Voi.

How fast can a rental e-scooter go?

We’ve worked with Voi to limit the speed of rental escooters to 12.5 mph and to set boundaries in certain areas in the city. The speed limit of Portsmouth’s rental escooters is below the 15.5mph cap set for the government trial but still allows scooters to mix safely with other traffic.

If a rider enters a slow-ride or no-ride zone, the rental escooter will automatically slow or stop, depending on the zone type, thanks to Voi’s geofencing technology. Users can locate slow-ride or no-ride zones within their app.

You’re likely to find slow-ride zones within busy areas where a lot of people are walking or there’s a high volume of motor traffic, for instance, in Palmerston Road South and Osborne Road.

In other areas, for example, Guildhall Square, no-ride zones are in place to automatically slow the scooter to a stop.

Are there any rules about riding whilst being under the influence of drink or drugs?

Never ride rental escooters under the influence of drink or drugs.

Voi escooters are classified as motor vehicles. If a rider is stopped and found to be under the influence of drink, drugs or other substances they will be in violation of Voi’s terms of use.

More importantly they will be subject to the law in the same way as any vehicle driver and could face imprisonment, a driving ban and a fine if found guilty of drink-riding. Find out more about drink-driving penalties.

 

Are under 18's allowed to use rental escooters?

No, you must be 18 and over to use a rental escooter in Portsmouth.

More importantly rental escooter riders are subject to the law in the same way as any vehicle driver. If you let someone use the scooter who is under age you could face a driving ban, points on your license or a fine.

If you see someone using an escooter who is clearly under 18 take a note of the escooter’s number plate and the time and report to Voi.

 

How many people can ride a rental e-scooter?

Only one rider can be on a rental e-scooter.

Never share your ride. Rental escooters are designed for one rider without passengers. If you ride with another passenger your balance will be affected, along with the functionality of the brakes, which means that you risk seriously injuring yourself, your passenger and others around you.

If you see more than one person riding (twin riding) please make a note of the escooter’s number plate and the time and report to Voi.

How do I report someone for reckless or dangerous riding?

You need to contact Voi directly using their reporting form.

You can also email them  support@voiapp.io or call the 24-hour customer service helpline 0800-3768179.

Voi has a clear approach to responding to concerns about riders. If an issue is considered to create a risk to the riders or other people Voi will give the rider three chances before removing their account. If an incident is more serious Voi will remove the account more quickly if necessary.

As part of the ongoing development and improvement of rental escooter models, we have requested that Voi include a larger number plate, to be placed in a more prominent position, to enable better reporting.

How do I report a misplaced or badly-parked e-scooter?

Besides having a team on the ground to monitor the escooter activity and ensure scooters are parked without causing a nuisance to pedestrians or other road users, Voi has introduced an enhanced version of the ‘end of ride photo’. This feature requires users to take and submit a photo of their parked scooter at the end of each ride, encouraging them to park their scooter correctly. These photos are reviewed daily by Voi, and action is taken if users do not comply with the safe parking guidelines.

Users who leave e-scooters lying down on the floor, parked in a way that is obstructing the pavement and causing an obstacle to pedestrians, strollers or wheelchairs, will receive an email containing a warning and an educational message. After the first warning, riders who park their vehicles incorrectly will receive a £25 fine.

To report a badly-parked or misplaced scooter complete Voi’s online form  and a member of their team will be sent out to retrieve the escooter. To report a specific scooter, make a note of the scooter’s four digit ID.  

Where can I find out more about rental escooters?

Voi have a wealth of information in their frequently asked questions.

What do I do if my escooter breaks down?

If you have a problem with your scooter contact Voi support on 0800 3768179

How are rental escooters safer than illegal, privately owned escooters?

Safety is a top priority during the escooter trial in Portsmouth and there are clear rules around who can use the rental escooters.

People who rent escooters from Voi must be 18 or over and hold a provisional or full driving licence. Riders are encouraged to take part in online training before their first ride, and are offered incentives to encourage helmet-wearing. The rental price includes third party motor insurance and personal accident cover for all trips.

The Voi rental escooters include unique identification plates, are a distinctive colour and are equipped with bright lights and reflectors for increased visibility. The speed of the escooters during the rental trial in Portsmouth is limited to 12.5mph, below the DfT limit of 15.5mph for rental e-scooters.

Privately-owned escooters are illegal, except for use on privately land. They can also travel at much higher speeds than rental escooters.

Why is the trial taking place in Portsmouth?

Portsmouth is one of a number of cities taking part in a national trial of rental e-scooters. We’re working with our partners at Solent Transport who have been awarded funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) to launch rental trials in Portsmouth, on the Isle of Wight and at other locations across the Solent region, as part of the Future Transport Zone Programme.

The Portsmouth trial was approved at the council’s Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting in February 2021. It provides an opportunity for people to use escooters for commuting and leisure and to share their experience of rental escooters with the council and Solent Transport. This will form part of a national approach to building a more sustainable travel network.

Rental escooters offer a safe and socially-distanced transport option to help the region recover from the coronavirus pandemic and can replace short car journeys, help improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. They can be easily combined with public transport trips and provide a practical option for short journeys which make up 60% of all road trips in the U.K.

Who provides the legal rental escooter trial?

In Portsmouth, the escooter rental trial is operated by Voi Technology, who are operating trials in 21 cities across the UK . Participants are encouraged to take part in online training, through Voi’s in-app escooter driving school or book your place at a safety event . Riders must be over 18 years old and hold at least a valid provisional driving license. They will also be encouraged to wear a bicycle helmet.

Can I rent an escooter at any time of day?

The escooters are available for hire between 4am–10pm in Portsmouth. Riders may return their scooters to the racks beyond 10pm if the rental started before this time.

Are riders insured when renting an e-scooter from Voi?

Yes, the Department of Transport (DfT) requires third party insurance for rental e-scooter riders as part of the national trial. As additional protection for its riders Voi also provides personal accident insurance for all trips.

View Voi’s insurance cover here Insurance certificates | Third party liability and personal accident insurance (voiscooters.com)