I love the Voi e-scooter. I said it there.
It’s a controversial stance in Bristol these days. Every time we write about Vois trial rental program, which was launched last October, there are a number of comments – not all of them printable – from people who want to get rid of them.
There are legitimate concerns, particularly about the way some scooters block sidewalks. But by and large, social media could suggest that it is less popular than it really is. It is clear that there are a lot of people out there who really enjoy zooming around on the scooters. Just go outside for a weekend – they’re everywhere. Which apparently constitutes a large part of the irritation for the naysayers.
I am not a very adventurous person. The thought of a vaguely spicy curry is enough to make me nervous. I’m way too weak to ride a motorcycle, but an e-scooter is the Goldilocks thrill for me – a strange, childlike feeling of freedom while not moving very fast at all.
Have you experienced the same problem? Let us know in the comments.
Lately I’ve been arguing a little with the scooters. The problem has centered on the parking zone where St. Nicholas Street meets downtown High Street. On three or four occasions I spent a few minutes finishing my ride there.
Despite being a designated parking lot – each time there was a Voi herd right next to me smugly reminding me of it – the app shows an error message on my phone when I try to park the scooter.
In the middle of the screen the message flashes: “Oh, this is not a parking zone.” At the same time, a banner at the top of the screen tells me, “This is a good place to end your ride.” Is that a case of Schrödinger’s scooter?
On the subject of matching items
On the subject of matching items
When it happened yesterday, I spent about five minutes finishing the ride before giving up. The cost went up 20p every minute.
On previous occasions when this happened I slipped down Wine Street and used the space next to Castle Park. That didn’t work yesterday. When I tried to finish my drive again, I was informed that I was in a no-parking zone and was also told that it was a good place to park. When I was standing in the middle of a row of parked scooters.
For a few minutes I desperately tried to maneuver myself into the sacred blue circle of the park that spun angrily on my phone screen. Even if the app seemed to show the scooter in a circle, it still wouldn’t let me park.
I moved aimlessly across the sidewalk like a drunken sailor on a storm-lashed ship. When I noticed a questioning look from a man unlocking one of the other scooters, I told him about my predicament. “Ah yes,” he said. “Happens.”
After a few minutes, the app suddenly allowed me to park without doing anything new.
A little annoyed, I asked Bristol Twitter if others were having similar problems. It turns out they did.
Edward Studley replied, “Yes, this happens to me regularly. I asked them about it and they said it was due to a bad GPS signal in bad weather. “
I should point out that the weather was warm and dry yesterday.
Sam Grist commented, “This has happened to me a couple of times and [to be fair] I think the problem is that the rooms are so small. They’ll refund you something, but it’s a bit of an annoyance wandering around for a while trying to get hold of it and then texting them to get the 30p or whatever back. “
Dave McNally added, “My next one requires you to be on the street to park it. I think the zones were drawn with a map overlay just a few feet away. “
Kay Hannay tweeted: “I also let it happen a bit, around Montpelier.”
And it wouldn’t have been a social media chat about e-scooters without a comment like this thrown in: “These things are a damn threat ridden by oh-so-woke t *** s. Should be banned completely. “
The parking disorder endangers the ease and convenience, which are the main selling points of the scooters. If people try to park for five minutes and get increasingly annoyed, they will likely consider another mode of transport next time.
Customers lose money too, although it’s comforting to hear that Sam was able to get refunds. When I contacted Vois Press Office about this article, the spokeswoman told me that I could possibly get a refund by contacting customer service.
She said, “Safety and accessibility are a top priority for Voi and the West of England Combined Authority. A standard part of our day-to-day operations is to make ongoing adjustments to our geofencing zones, including mandatory parking spaces, to ensure optimal accuracy and the safety of our drivers and other road users.
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“These reviews always take into account all usage information and feedback from all the various stakeholders.
“Voi has a 24-hour user support service that users can contact by email (email@example.com) or phone (0800 376 8179) to discuss anything related to our service . “
Let’s hope that the problem can be overcome soon and that Voi will be happy again.