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Spin Takes off in Milton Keynes, its First Market in the UK
October 2, 2020
About 40 percent of users said their most recent Spin ride was in lieu of driving alone, using carshare, or taking rideshare or a taxi. And, a full 30 percent said they rode an e-scooter to connect to means of public transport.
A small city of around 270,000 people about 50 miles outside of London might not immediately seem like a potential hub for tech innovation, but Milton Keynes is not shy about leading the way. Home to several large, national business HQs and only a 30 minute ride on a fast train from London, the city sees a huge number of commuters to/from London every day. No wonder the city was keen to offer more sustainable, active transport options to those arriving.
What has happened since we launched our service there has blown our expectations out of the water: in only three weeks, with a very modest fleet, people took more than 10,000 rides on Spin scooters.
Councilor Lauren Townsend, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: “We’re delighted that our residents are embracing Spin’s e-scooters. We have a great track record on trialling new technologies here in Milton Keynes, and we’re excited at the potential for e-scooters to keep people out of their cars, cut emissions, and keep our air clean — a key part of our ambitious plans to make MK a leading green city.”
It helps that this city has invested in the infrastructure. Milton Keynes is known, in part, for its unique network of 200 miles — 322 kilometres — of shared foot-and-cycle paths that criss-cross almost the entire town.
No stranger to innovation, Milton Keynes has seen small white robots zipping across their city delivering groceries for about two years now after a startup launched their robot delivery service there. Now, with the pandemic, the service has taken off and gotten international headlines.
Given the city’s openness to innovation and high-quality sustainable transportation infrastructure network, it makes sense that we’d see high ridership, which is good news for environmental and traffic-reduction goals. We surveyed our riders in Milton Keynes and found that nearly two-thirds of their rides replaced a single-occupancy car trip at least once. About 40 percent of riders said their most recent scooter ride replaced a trip they otherwise would’ve taken by private car, carshare, or ridehail. And, a full 30 percent said they rode a scooter to connect to transit.
We initially launched with 100 scooters and last week had over 3,500 people signed up for Spin in Milton Keynes. From the beginning, we’ve been working with local officials to ensure we operate in a safe, responsible manner. And we will continue to do so as we scale our fleet to 300 scooters and, hopefully, see commensurate ridership increase.
Instead of offering in-person safety course, due to restrictions on public gatherings, we’re offering all riders access to Spin Safe Digital, an online learning resource that teaches riders how to start and end trips properly, parking techniques to ensure walkways are free of scooter clutter, and safe-riding practices during COVID-19. Riders can receive a £5 discount if they take an online quiz on the rules.
A short train ride away, London will be opening to e-scooters soon and our ambition is to bring our shared scheme to Londoners as soon as possible. We know people there are eager for sustainable alternatives to getting around by cars and complimentary options to existing public transport.
In another recent study, we found almost a quarter of Londoners responded positively to the idea of having e-scooters as a transportation option, noting that it would be more convenient (24 percent), and 23 percent said that e-scooters would be more socially-distanced than their current commute methods. Three in 10 Londoners noted they were also drawn to the environmental benefits it would have on their commute.
In the same survey, we found a third — 34 percent — of UK adults and almost half — 49 percent — of 25–34 year olds say they would replace their usual commute with a ride on an e-scooter if they were available to rent.
Steve Pyer, UK General Manager at Spin, said, “We were very excited that we brought the first of our UK e-scooter fleets to Milton Keynes in August, and, following a highly-encouraging response from local riders, it is exceptionally positive to see this rapid rate of adoption for this great alternative to car travel and complimentary to local public transport options. We will continue to work closely with Milton Keynes Council to ensure ongoing success. This is the first of many Spin e-scooter trials across the UK as part of our firm commitment to fully integrate e-scooters into local transport ecosystems.”