Transport for London has announced it will extend the trial of e-scooter rentals in London, ahead of the Government’s planned legalisation of private-use scooters.
In an announcement this week, Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils confirmed that e-scooter schemes in the capital run by Dott, Lime and Tier will be temporarily extended to allow authorities to collect more data on this developing mode of transport.
TfL has also launched a competitive procurement process for operators to run the next phase of London’s rental e-scooter trials.
The Department for Transport recently updated its guidance to allow rental e-scooter trials to run until 31st May, 2024. London’s schemes will now run until at least September 2023, when the procurement process is completed.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I’m pleased that TfL and London Councils have been able to extend the country’s largest rental e-scooter trial. The Mayor and I are determined to continue building a cleaner, greener and more prosperous London for everyone, and e-scooters can play a useful role in our city’s transport network by offering alternatives to car use. Through the trial, we are also helping to inform future Government legislation on these vehicles to ensure they are safe for all riders and other road users.
“The e-scooter trial has proven to be popular, with more than two million trips already taken, and this next phase of the trial will build upon this, replicating the high safety requirements and high operating standards, and continuing to learn through testing newer technology to ensure that these vehicles work for everybody. With the right regulations that prioritise safety, rental e-scooters can help ensure a green, sustainable future for London.”
London’s e-scooter trials launched in June last year, with 10 London boroughs initially joining the schemes, with almost two million journeys made and 4,425 e-scooters currently available to hire.
A competitive procurement for operators to run the next phase of London’s rental e-scooter trial has now launched and operators will be chosen on their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards, TfL said.
It is currently illegal to ride scooters on the road outside of these nationwide rental trials, but the Government has instigated plans to introduce a new low-speed, low-emission vehicle category, paving the way for the legalisation of privately-owned scooters. While there is no definite date for when e-scooters will be legalised, the new legislation could be introduced by summer 2023.
The contracts let under the new procurement may run for longer than the DfT national trial term (which ends on 31st May 2024) in anticipation of new legislation being passed. To ensure there is a continuation of service in London, the current trial contracts operated by Dott, Lime and Tier, which expire this year, will be extended temporarily until the procurement is complete.
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, which is why we’re really pleased to be able to extend the e-scooter trial. We’re working closely with London Councils on our plans for the next phase of the trial, which will help us build on its successes so far. We hope Londoners can continue to benefit from the trial and we will continue to use its data to learn more about the role e-scooters could play in helping people move around London sustainably.”
Throughout the continuing trial, operators will be required to provide critical data for TfL and the participating boroughs to understand the impact of e-scooters on London’s transport goals, including the Vision Zero aim to eliminate death and serious injuries from London’s roads.
Mayor Phil Glanville, London Councils’ climate change, transport and environment lead, said: “I am pleased that London’s rental e-scooter trial is being extended to allow more people across our capital to take advantage of this sustainable mode of transport. Thanks to the boroughs taking part in the trial, London continues to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to micro-mobility, transport and the journey to net zero.”
“We look forward to working with TfL and stakeholders to make the next phase of the trial a success and we are confident that rental e-scooters will continue to provide an alternative to car-based travel in the capital. Safety remains our top priority and we will continue to look closely at data and insights to see how e-scooters can play a part in a more sustainable future for London.”