Just 1 in 3 London Boroughs signed up to e-scooter rental scheme


Cities across the globe have embraced e-scooters as a key way of enabling citizens to get around efficiently in a way that limits carbon emissions, writes Ashley Noris in Transition Earth.

Paris, for example, recently announced the creation of a new wave of docking stations. However, one major European city has significantly lagged behind the others – London. Last year the government greenlighted a series of trials in many cities in the UK. So far Liverpool, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Milton Keynes and Southampton are among those who have taken part in the trials.

Now London Mayor Sadiq Khan is apparently due to announce details of the capital’s e-scooter trials, but as the Daily Telegraph points out the rollout could be quite chaotic with large swathes of the city apparently not participating.

Khan has apparently picked three e-scooter operators to roll out a trial in London – Lime, Tier and Dott,  which incidentally are the same trio that operates in Paris. The details are set to be confirmed in the coming days.

The trio will participate in a year-long trial which is due to start in the Spring.

Yet people who rent e-scooters might find that they unwittingly break the law as they move from one borough to another as The Telegraph claims that of London’s 33 boroughs only 11 have signed up to the TFL-operated rental scheme.

The Telegraph reports:

Just 11 of London’s 33 boroughs are signed up to the TfL rental scheme. Three others – Newham, Tower Hamlets and Brent – will be “ride-through” boroughs, meaning that e-scooter users can ride through the areas but will not be able to rent or park in them. Redbridge, Harrow and Barking and Dagenham are “actively considering” participating in the trial but have yet to sign up. 

Most of south London, from Bexley in the east round to Kingston upon Thames in the west, will not be included in the trial. Meanwhile, there will be large gaps in the north of the city. For instance, there are no boroughs participating between Redbridge and Barnet, a distance of around 10 miles.

The gaps in the trial have sparked fears over rental scooters spontaneously dying if users stray outside the designated areas.

A Transport for London spokesman told the Telegraph: “Following the Government’s announcement of e-scooter trials around the country, TfL launched an open and competitive procurement process for the planned 12-month trial of an e-scooter rental scheme in London.

“This trial aims to promote safety standards and develop a better understanding of the impact of this emerging mode of transport on London’s roads. This award decision remains subject to TfL finalising the terms of the contracts with the preferred bidders and a further announcement in relation to the successful winners will be made in due course.”

Londoners have voted with their feet on e-scooters though. Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use in London, though large numbers have been sold, and continued to be sold by retailers like Halfords.

Chris Price
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