London’s rental e-scooter trial will begin on 7th June in a core group of boroughs, Canary Wharf and the City of London with more areas expected to join the 12-month trial as it progresses, TfL and London Councils have announced.
Operators Dott, Lime and Tier have been appointed to take part in the trial. Safety will be at the core of the trial throughout, and data shared by the operators will play a role in helping to shape London and the UK’s future policy on e-scooters. The safety standards required will go further than those set out at a national level, by requiring:
– A lower maximum speed of 12.5mph
– Lights at the front and the rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental
– Audible warning systems that can be used without adjusting the rider’s grip of the handlebar
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.
The rental e-scooters will only be allowed to be used on roads and in cycleways. 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, including key workers playing a vital role in helping London get through the pandemic.
A core group of London boroughs, Canary Wharf and the City of London will be participating in the trial fully by providing parking, with further boroughs acting as ‘ride-through’ areas, which users may travel through but not start or end e-scooter rides. Between 60 and 150 e-scooters will be available to rent in each fully participating borough initially, with riders able to move freely across these boroughs and ‘ride-through’ areas.
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, said TfL.
Boroughs, Canary Wharf and the City of London will control parking locations for e-scooters, providing marked designated bays to protect against street clutter and ensure footways are kept free. 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.
“We want to ensure a green, sustainable recovery from coronavirus, and e-scooters are an alternative to cars that could help with this,” said Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner. “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.”
Henri Moissinac, CEO and co-founder of Dott, said: “We’re delighted to win the London tender, and this feels like just the beginning for Dott in the UK. We are proud to be a part of the trial and grateful to the TfL and London Councils for their trust. This decision is a testament to the daily work of Dott’s local and international teams, who have been providing a high-quality, accessible and reliable service, since our foundation.
“We are excited that we will soon be able to offer Londoners the best micro-mobility services, working closely with local authorities and other operators to build a better and more sustainable city.”
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.”
Lawrence Leuschner, CEO and co-founder, Tier Mobility, said: “This is a hugely proud moment for TIER and we cannot wait to start working with London, a city famed for transport innovation, from constructing the first underground railway to building the world’s first international airport.
“Our e-scooters will not only give Londoners a new, convenient and environmentally-friendly mode of transport but will bring jobs to the city and a financial boost for the small high-street businesses who choose to house the battery charging pods which make up our unique Energy Network.
“We will be applying all of the experience and know-how we’ve gained from other major cities to ensure that TIER’s e-scooter scheme in London is a success, not just for riders but for other road users and communities at large.”
Rental pricing will be set individually by the operators and confirmed in due course and operators will also outline the terms and conditions for rental, but all must meet TfL and London Councils’ minimum safety requirements.