Regional transport consortium Solent Transport has announced that on-road parking bays for e-bikes and e-scooters have been installed in Southampton, with the aim of improving local micromobility parking and usage.
The group has claimed these are the first bays of their kind outside of London in the UK.
Voi e-scooters and Beryl Bikes, which are available to hire through Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) app Breeze, can now be parked in designated parking bays in the following locations: Redbridge Hill, Wordsworth Road, Church Street, Clarendon Road, Bellevue Road, Lawn Road, Priory Avenue and Cumbrian Way.
All these new locations have capacity for six bikes and six e-scooters, apart from Bellevue Road, which has parking space for four bikes. Thus, a single car parking space can now provide space for up to 12 micromobility vehicles at each of these sites.
The two operators have said they will be monitoring the new locations closely in the first month and will keep an eye on fleet tidiness, usage and user feedback.
A spokesperson from Southampton Sight, a rights advocacy group for the visually impaired, said: “We at Southampton Sight are delighted to hear our continued concerns regarding parking bays on pavements for e-scooters and e-bikes are being positively addressed by Voi, Beryl and Southampton City Council.
“We recognise that e-scooters have a part to play in the drive towards a sustainable future and so working towards the establishment of carriageway parking is an important step to ensure an obstacle-free pavement which is essential for people living with sight loss but is also essential in guiding the mindset of e-scooter users away from our pavements and onto the roads.”
Cllr Eamonn Keogh, cabinet member for environment and transport at Southampton City Council and board member of Solent Transport, added: “These new designated road parking bays for both Voi e-scooters and Beryl Bikes by Breeze are a great opportunity for Southampton to learn how we can improve micromobility parking and usage, supporting pedestrian space and safety.”
If the new on-road parking proves successful, Solent Transport said it hopes to install similar parking elsewhere in Southampton and the wider region covered by its four local authorities, with the aim of replacing footpath parking to free up pavement space for pedestrians.