Transport for London and London Councils have extended the capital’s trial of rental e-scooters from 6 June until 20 November this year, which they say will allow the trial to build on what they believe are its successes and further explore how e-scooters could play a role in a sustainable transport network.
London’s trial launched in June last year and has expanded significantly since then, with ten boroughs, more than 500 designated parking locations and 4,100 e-scooter vehicles now involved. Updated Department for Transport guidance allows existing trials in the UK to be extended until November 2022, enabling local authorities to continue to test the vehicles in a safe and legal way.
Since launching almost one year ago, more than one million journeys have now been made across the three operators taking part in London’s trial – Dott, Lime and TIER. These journeys cover a total of more than 2.5 million kilometres, with April being the busiest month so far for the trial. Thousands of users have also benefitted from the operators’ discount schemes, which make the rental vehicles more affordable for people on low incomes and with disabilities.
Last week, the Government announced that the forthcoming Transport Bill would introduce a new category of low-speed, zero-emission vehicles, which could include e-scooters, and ensure they are regulated, safe and licensed. TfL and London Councils welcome this development, which has the potential to make important improvements to the safety of private e-scooters, which are not presently regulated. TfL and London Councils will examine the proposals in greater detail when they are available. Anonymised data from the rental scheme is being used to assess how micromobility could make a positive contribution to transport in London and the extension of the rental trial will enable TfL and London Councils to learn even more about this new category of vehicles before any new legislation come into force. TfL and London Councils will continue to follow DfT guidance around rental schemes and will make further decisions about the scheme’s future as appropriate in due course.
Will Norman, London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said: “London’s e-scooter trial has proven to be very popular, with more than 1 million trips taken, so I am pleased that TfL and London Councils have been able to extend the trial to November. The trial is helping to shape our understanding of the role that e-scooters could play in the capital’s transport network and helping to inform future Government legislation on these vehicles. Ensuring a green, sustainable future for London is a top priority – with the right regulations that prioritise safety, e-scooters are an alternative to cars that could help us get there.”
Helen Sharp, TfL’s e-scooter trial lead, said: “E-scooters could play an important role in ensuring a green and sustainable future for London and we’re really pleased to be able to extend the e-scooter trial to November. We’re working closely with operators, councils and people across London to build on the success of the trial so far and we’re pleased that people will continue to benefit until the autumn. The anonymised data we gather is crucial and we’ll be analysing this closely so that we can learn more about the role e-scooters could play in helping people move around London sustainably.”
Katharina Winbeck, London Councils’ Strategic Lead for Transport and Environment, said: “We are delighted London’s rented e-scooter trial is being extended through to November to allow more people to take advantage of this sustainable mode of transport across our capital.
“The trial is very much shaped by the boroughs and aims to support London’s diverse local communities by providing a flexible alternative for travel and promoting a safety-first approach. As we move into our second summer of the trial where the weather is more favourable, we look forward to more people taking advantage of rented e-scooters to complete their journeys.
“We will continue to look closely at data and insights as the trial is extended to see how e-scooters can play a part in a more sustainable and healthier future for London, especially now that Government has confirmed legislation is expected to regulate e-scooters across the country. The London trial will be very important to inform this new legislation to ensure e-scooters are rolled out safely in local areas.”
E-scooter operators Dott, Lime and TIER said: “We are delighted to be extending our successful London e-scooter pilot in collaboration with TfL and London Councils. Data from the first 12 months of use in London shows that e-scooters can be introduced safely here, offering residents and visitors a new sustainable way to travel around the capital. We look forward to continuing our service over the summer, with even more Londoners set to try out our scooters in the warm weather.”
Rental e-scooters in London are required to meet high safety standards which go beyond the national standards, including a speed limit of 12.5mph, larger wheels and lights that are always on throughout any rental. To help ensure the success of the trial, Londoners are encouraged to report any issues they experience, including poor rider behaviour, to the operators or TfL. Contact details are available on the TfL website at tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/electric-scooter-rental-trial. Reports of poor rider behaviour are taken seriously and the operators have warned or banned more than 200 people for dangerous behaviour to date. Private e-scooters remain illegal for use on roads and cycle lanes.
London operators are collaborating with UCL’s world-leading research facility PEARL to research and develop a standardised sound for rental e-scooters. Building on work already undertaken by all three operators, the approach is supported by TfL and London Councils and could improve safety across the entire e-scooter industry by helping people, in particular those with visual impairments, identify rental e-scooters. Research is expected to produce a sound which can be tested by operators in London this year, attaining an industry standard and ultimately aiming to scale up to other cities in the UK and beyond.
(Picture – TfL)