E-SCOOTERS could soon be rolled out in Oxford City Centre, as well as in Cowley, East Oxford and Jericho.

A trial of licensed e-scooters run by Oxfordshire County Council has been running in Headington since February.

But the area where they can be used is now set to be extended with phase two of the trial, which will begin on Friday, May 21.

According to a council document seen by this paper, the expanded area will include whole ‘eastern arc’ of Oxford, an area which covers Cowley, East Oxford, Iffley and Rose Hill, Marston, Jericho and Oxford city centre up to the north end of St Giles.

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At the moment, if the e-scooters move outside this area they are supposed to automatically grind to a halt.

Voi, the company which operates the scooters and manages them on behalf of the county council, operates a ‘geofencing’ system which uses satellite technology to prevent the scooters from moving outside the trial area.

Around 350 scooters are reportedly going to be made available in the new wider area.

There are currently 120 scooters available in the Headington area alone.

The scooters can be dropped off anywhere once riders are finished with their journeys.

This had led to some concerns about the e-scooters obstructing narrow pavements and impeding people with disabilities in particular.

But Voi and the county council has started to paint e-scooter parking bays across Headington, and in the phase two area 250 of these are likely to be marked out.

In green: the area where the Voi e-scooters could be used in phase 2 of the scheme.

In green: the area where the Voi e-scooters could be used in phase 2 of the scheme.

The e-scooter trial is designed to encourage something called ‘modal shift’ , moving people away from cars to cycling, walking and other kinds of transport.

If the second phase of the trial is deemed to be successful, then there are plans to open the entirety of the ‘wider Oxford urban area’ to e-scooter use.

This would not just include the rest of Oxford, but also Kennington, Kidlington, Yarnton, Begbroke, Cumnor, and Horspath, according to a Government map used to define this area.

This phase, number three, could begin in June or July if the second phase is deemed a success.

However, Tom Hayes, Oxford City Council’s deputy leader, said he and his colleagues had not been approached to give feedback from residents ahead of phase two.

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He added he did not think the city centre was an appropriate place for e-scooter parking because space was at a premium, and said the county council had not ‘evaluated impacts’ of the Headington trial.

Mr Hayes added: “It is really about thinking where the appropriate place is for the extension of the e-scooter scheme.”

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: "Oxfordshire County Council and partner Voi Technology are to launch the next stage of the e-scooter trial on 21 May; bringing the benefits of low cost,-zero emission and socially distanced transport to many more residents and visitors.

"The council will be giving a full update on this next week.

"The county council has offered regular briefings and updates to a series of local organisations, including the City Council, before and through the scooter trial."