Sunderland’s e-scooter trial will continue into 2022 so more data on their use can be gathered.

The decision comes after Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet backed a recommendation to extend the trial into March next year.

E-scooter operator Neuron began Sunderland’s rental trial at the end of March this year with 200 distinctive orange e-scooters deployed across the city.

Sunderland is among dozens of cities and towns across the UK running similar trials.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and portfolio holder for environment and transport, Councillor Claire Rowntree said the extension was in line with allowing the Government and Department for Transport (DfT) to gather more information on how all the trials were working.

Cllr Rowntree said: “Sunderland’s trial was launched in March 2021 and was intended to be in place for eight months until November 2021.

“Government Ministers have approved an extension of current e-scooter trials from November 2021 to March 2022.

“The guiding principle for this change is a trial continuation rather than expansion or market development.

“No changes to the operation of the trial will take place.

“The trial will continue with its current arrangements and restrictions and Sunderland’s extension will allow extra time for trials to reach capacity and for the DfT to gather additional data.

“The evidence gathered in the trial will guide final decisions about whether and, if so, how to fully legalise the use of e-scooters.

“It is important that Sunderland continues to take part in the trial, as data collected will contribute to deciding the long-term vision of sustainable and active travel in Sunderland and the UK.”

The council has the trial under continuous review and in the first four months of the trial, 42,626 rides were covering 107,000km (66,500 miles) and 45 complaints (0.11 per cent of ride total).

A rider survey in May found that nearly half (42 per cent) of e-scooter rides had directly displaced car journeys meaning around 12,000 fewer car trips in Sunderland.

George Symes, UK regional manager for Neuron Mobility, said: “We are thrilled that the extension of our e-scooter trial in Sunderland has been confirmed by Sunderland City Council.

“Since beginning operations in March, our e-scooters have helped boost the local economy with 54 per cent of rides resulting in a purchase.

“By extending the trial, our e-scooters will continue to have a positive impact on the environment.

“Already, over 42 per cent of trips displace a car journey, which has contributed to the elimination of around 30 tonnes of CO2 in the North-East.

“Neuron’s e-scooters have been embraced by locals, with 86 per cent of riders believing that they have created a positive impact on the city.

“We are very pleased that our e-scooters can continue to offer a sustainable, socially-distanced, and safe mode of transport in Sunderland.”