Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils have announced an expansion of the capital’s trial of rental e-scooters, with e-scooters available to rent from Monday 5 July in the City of London and northern parts of Lambeth and people will be able to ride them in Southwark. The expansion will mean that the number of vehicles will increase from around 600 to 1200 across London and will now be available at even more key inner and central London destinations.
Following the government's decision to legalise rental trials of e-scooters last month, TfL and London Councils launched a trial of rental e-scooters in the capital. The trial initially covered a core area including Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond, Tower Hamlets and Canary Wharf. This expansion means that the e-scooters can be hired and used in a wider area of central and inner London. TfL and London Councils are continuing discussions with boroughs about further expansions over the coming months.
Safety continues to be the top priority and TfL and London Councils’ close monitoring of the trial will continue across the new areas.
Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said:
“The London rented e-scooter trial continues at a pivotal time for our city as we pursue a greener recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This latest expansion to include the City of London and parts of Lambeth and Southwark widens London’s existing e-scooter network and potentially helps reduce carbon emissions by offering an alternative to car journeys.
“Safety remains the top priority for the trial. We will be looking closely at data and insights as the trial continues to grow to determine whether e-scooters are a viable part of a greener and healthier future for London. Vitally, the trial is shaped by the boroughs and aims to support London’s diverse local communities by being inclusive of the travel needs of all Londoners, especially those on lower incomes.”
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said:
“I’m pleased that London’s rental e-scooter trial is expanding to cover the City of London, and parts of Lambeth and Southwark. Extending the footprint of the trial to more areas will enable us to get a better understanding of the role e-scooters can play in switching car journeys to greener and more sustainable alternatives. Safety continues to be at the heart of our trial, with London’s more stringent safety standards also in place in the new large area.”
Helen Sharp, TfL’s e-scooter trial lead, said:
“We’ve worked closely with the City of London, Lambeth and Southwark to ensure this expansion of the trial works for everybody in the area. London’s safety-first trial of e-scooters is already providing vital data about the long-term role they could play in a greener and healthier future for the capital and this expansion will further help to shape UK and London policy in the area. Safety remains our top priority and we will continue to closely monitor e-scooters in the new and existing trial areas, making improvements wherever identified.”
The rental e-scooters have a number of safety features including always-on lights, GPS controlled parking and no-go zones - meaning they can only be parked in specified locations not obstructing the pavement and cannot be taken in certain areas, such as tunnels - and a unique identification number on every vehicle. The safety standards required in London go further than those set out at a national level, by requiring:
- Users to be 18+
- 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
- Vehicles to come to safe stop in a ‘no go’ area, and safely reduce speed to 8mph in ‘go slow’ areas
The operators 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. TfL, London Councils and the operators also launched an extensive safety and awareness campaign to promote the importance of safety during the trial.
TfL, London Councils and participating boroughs have actively engaged with people with accessibility needs throughout the development of the trial and will continue to do so during the trial, including with TfL’s Independent Disability Advisory Group. This includes proactively engaging with the blind and partially sighted community and encouraging each operator to work with the community to find an appropriate sound for e-scooters to alert people to their presence on the street. Each operator is considering adding an appropriate sound to their e-scooters and TIER has committed to introducing a sound later this summer. The trial is being regularly monitored and reviewed to make sure it is safe for everyone and changes will be made to its operation wherever improvements are identified.
While the Department of Transport will ultimately make any decisions on future e-scooter policy, data shared by the operators will play a vital role in helping to shape London and the UK's future policy on e-scooters and will include anonymised trip details, safety and incident reporting and environment and sustainability metrics. TfL has installed a micro-mobility data sharing platform which will allow for two-way data sharing with the operators and help with the day-to-day management of the trial. Each operator will communicate with its customers directly and the operator will be the first port of call for any issues related to e-scooter rentals during the trial.
The use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads is not covered by the trial and remains illegal in the UK, as does riding any e-scooter, rental or private, on footways. The Metropolitan Police will continue their work engaging with e-scooter riders, and where necessary, will enforce the legislation regarding the use of privately owned e-scooters on the highway and on footways.