E-scooter Trial To Begin in Local Borough

Three companies have been given contract to provide rental service

Three companies will be providing e

A 12-month trial of e-scooter rentals in London will begin in June, TfL confirmed this week.

The boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames and Kensington and Chelsea, as well as Canary Wharf and the City of London, will be participating in the trial which begins on 7 June.

Other boroughs will operate as 'ride-through' areas, which users may travel through but not start or end e-scooter rides.

The trial is part of an attempt to encourage sustainable, active forms of transport and prevent a car-led recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said, “We want to ensure a green, sustainable recovery from coronavirus, and e-scooters are an alternative to cars that could help with this.

“The safety of those using e-scooters, as well as other road users and pedestrians, is absolutely paramount, so it’s important that they are trialled in this rigorous way to ensure high standards. We look forward to exploring the role that e-scooters could play in London’s future.”

Operators Lime, TIER and Dott have been selected to take part in the trial and each will set their own rental prices.   All operators will also be obliged to ensure that their rental prices take into account the needs of people on lower incomes and to offer discounts to certain groups where appropriate.
Operators that demonstrate strong performance and compliance may be able to increase the number of e-scooters in their fleet over the course of the trial, while those that do not may be required to reduce their numbers.

Between 60 and 150 e-scooters will be available to rent in each area that is participating in the trial, each of which will have a maximum speed of 12.5 miles per hour as well as several safety features. The operators will also have other safety mechanisms in place, including ‘first ride policies’ where riders will need to take an e-learning safety course before they hire for the first time.

E-scooters will be restricted to cycle lanes and roads as it is illegal in the UK to ride them on footpaths.

Geo-fencing technology will be a requirement for every rental e-scooter. This system is intended to ensure that e-scooters are not parked outside of these designated spaces as the hiring of a rental e-scooter can only be ended once parked in a designated bay. There will also be mandatory response times for the operators in cases where vehicles have been improperly parked, are damaged or are causing an obstruction. Boroughs will also be able to specify ‘go-slow’ areas where the speed of e-scooters will be automatically limited to 8mph.

Wayne Ting, CEO of Lime said,  “We're proud to have already served more than 400,000 Londoners through our shared e-bike service over the last three years, and are delighted to now be able to bring our latest e-scooters to London. By offering two safe, convenient and zero-emission travel options through the Lime app, we hope to contribute to the development of a greener transport system that is accessible for everyone.

“London is one of the world's greatest cities and we’re humbled that Transport for London and London Councils have placed their trust in us to deliver one of the UK's largest e-scooter trials in the capital. We are now focused on developing a world-class e-scooter service for residents and visitors to London - improving and innovating alongside TfL, the boroughs and the other operators to ensure Lime works for every Londoner.”

Londoners will be encouraged to only use rental e-scooters as privately owned e-scooters remain banned on public roads.

Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter

May 18, 2021