We test out the Corby e-scooters and an expert answers some of your questions

Our reporter gave the new scooters a try on the streets of Corby

By Kate Cronin
Friday, 26th February 2021, 3:00 pm

Public opinion has been split since 50 new Voi e-scooters arrived on the streets of Corby yesterday.

Our reporter took a ride on one this morning in Tanfields Grove and separated the fact from the fiction thanks to Florian Diaconu, one of the Voi ambassadors helping launch the scheme in Corby.

Our reporter Kate Cronin went into Tanfields Grove with one of the scooters this morning. Image: Alison Bagley Photography

Our reporter Kate Cronin said: "I was a bit nervous but the scooter feels really solid as soon as you get on it. They do go faster than I'd anticipated and it takes some getting used to but they feel very safe once you've been aboard for a couple of minutes. And they are genuinely good fun.

"I hear they've already been very popular with people getting to work on the industrial estates. They're such a good solution to car sharing - which is not possible during the pandemic.

"I think they'll take off in Corby.

"The main issue I had was with avoiding potholes and if these are going to be a success then the roads do really need to be brought up to standard. If you hit a pothole on one of these you could be in trouble."

Voi ambassador Florian Diaconu answered your questions. Image: Alison Bagley Photography.

Florian said: "I have seen some of the comments online but I think people will get used to them soon and they'll be popular. They've really taken off in Northampton and I think they will in Corby.

"We have ambassadors working all day to sort out problems so if anyone has an issue they can just contact us."

Florian agreed to answer some of the most popular questions posed by our readers:

Can under 18s ride them?

The scooters have a top speed of 10mph. Image: Alison Bagley Photography

No. Only people with a provisional or full UK driving licence can ride them. They must upload their licence to the app before use. Only one person can ride at a time.

I'm worried that they'll crash on to me when I'm on the pavement?

Nobody should be riding one of the scooters on a pavement. They are made for road-use only. The police will be enforcing the law which does not allow their use on the pavement.

Someone has left one strewn on the ground near my house. What can I do?

You can go online to report it. There are three ambassadors working in Corby during the time the scooters are operational who are in charge of making sure the scooters are left in appropriate spots.

How do I know the battery won't run out while I'm on one?

When you get on the scooter there will be a green, amber or red warning battery light, and the app on your phone will also show you how much battery is left. If the battery runs out, simply park up and walk to the next scooter.

What about Covid? Surely with so many people using them they'll spread the germs on handles?

Voi are recommending that people use gloves on the scooters but the copper-taped handles kill 99.8 per cent of coronavirus on contact.

Where in Corby can I go on them?

A zone has been worked out for this trial which covers the north of the town including the Earlstrees, Weldon North and Willowbrook industrial estates, as well as the train station and Corby Community Hospital. They can't be used in the town centre yet. If they are taken out of the zone, they'll slow down to a stop.

How much do they cost to hire?

It costs £1 to unlock the scooter and then 20p per minute of usage.There are also 24-hour and 30-day subscriptions.

I want to ride one but I have no idea where to start.

You can start by downloading the Voi app on to your phone. It will prompt you to add a credit card or Paypal. You'll need your driving licence with you when you first hire a scooter. Then walk up to a scooter and open the app and it will do the rest. Just push off, pull the Go button and press the brake when you need to stop.

What about my stuff?

Well you couldn't do a full shop on one, but there is a bag hook so a single bag of shopping is easily possible. You could also take a rucksack with you.

I don't want them outside my house.

If they're on private property then you can move them or contact Voi to move them. Otherwise, as long as they're not blocking access then it is legal for them to be left on a pavement in a sensible spot where they're not causing a hazard to pedestrians.

Why has the council wasted all this money on scooters when they could spend it on other things?

The council does not fund or operate the scooters. They are entirely run by a private company called Voi.