E-scooters and e-bikes look set to be available on the Isle of Wight until at least 2026, but a new contract to run them is now being sought, which will cover the whole of the Solent region.

The current contract - a trial period which has subsequently been extended - lasts until June, but fears for the hire vehicles' economic viability have prompted a rethink.

Since October 2022, e-bikes and e-scooters have been available to hire on the Island through Beryl.

They are currently funded by the Solent Future Transport Zone (FTZ).

How does the e-scooter hire scheme work?

  • They can be booked out using an app on your mobile phone, which is linked to your bank account.
  • You much have at least a provisional licence to use them.
  • Once you are verified user, you enter a code or tap your phone on the vehicle and your hire time begins.
  • You tap off to finish your ride.
  • Users currently pay an unlock free and 16p per minute or can buy a pass. 

FTZ funding ends in June 2025 and, after that, it will be down to the operator to make micromobility, as the vehicles are collectively known, a financial success.

Since the Island's scheme started there have been over 150,000 journeys - most of them in the first two years of the trial - on Beryl's e-scooters and over 7,000 on e-bikes.

At its peak, there were 200 e-scooters available to use, but a report, presented to members of the Isle of Wight Council's cabinet, reveals that fell as low as 61 in December, due to vandalism, the need for repairs and a decision by the operator to concentrate more resources in the two Hampshire cities.

Beryl also operates e-bikes in Portsmouth and Southampton but Voi run the two cities' e-scooters. 

However, once the tender process is complete, from July 1, a single operator is expected to take on the contract for the Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Meanwhile, we are reminded only e-scooters rented through a scheme like Beryl's can be used on public roads.