London’s trial of rental e-scooters begins

Transport for London (TfL), London Councils, participating boroughs and e-scooter operators Dott, Lime and TIER have launched the trial of rental e-scooters in the capital, which will last for up to 12 months.

Following the government’s announcement to legalise rental trials of e-scooters run by local authorities, TfL and London Councils launched an open and competitive procurement process for the planned trial of an e-scooter rental scheme in London.

Operators Dott, Lime and TIER were appointed to take part in the trial following the process, where their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards was considered.  

The trial is initially launching in Canary Wharf, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Richmond, with Tower Hamlets acting as a ‘ride through’ area.  The trial will begin with this core group of boroughs, with more expected to join throughout the summer.

E-scooters will be priced at between £3.25 and £3.40 for a 15-minute ride – and are only allowed to be ridden on roads, not pavements. Each operator will charge a fee to unlock as well as a per-minute fee for each ride.

Rental e-scooters offer a number of benefits over private e-scooters which make them more suitable for a trial on London’s streets, including always-on lights, GPS controlled parking and no-go zones (they can only be parked in specified locations not obstructing the pavement), and cannot be taken into certain areas, such as tunnels.

The safety standards required will go further than those set out at a national level, by requiring:

  • A lower maximum speed of 12.5mph, compared to the 15.5mph set nationally   
  • Lights at the front and the rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental    
  • Larger wheels at least 12 inches in diameter, meaning they can navigate road surfaces more easily.

The operators will also have additional safety mechanisms in place, including ‘first ride policies’, meaning riders must take an e-learning safety course before they hire for the first time, and lower maximum speeds in place for their first ride.

Will Norman, London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said: “As we look to our capital’s future, we want to ensure a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. We know that a huge portion of car journeys in London are for very short distances, and we want to explore how e-scooters can act as an innovative alternative. E-scooters have been on our streets for some time now but with very little regulation.”

Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: “The rental e-scooter trial has the potential to support our city-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic and boost London’s green recovery. It will be important to see how this new service impacts London’s existing transport network and carbon emissions and how inclusive it is of the travel needs of all Londoners – especially those on lower incomes.”

Image: TfL Press Office

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