Following new, updated guidance from the Department for Transport (DfT) that allows local authority e-scooter trials to continue until 31 May 2024, TfL has announced that the rental e-scooter trials would be extended in the capital.
This extension comes after the UK government recently announced its plans to create a new vehicle category in legislation to cover e-scooters.
TfL said the e-scooter trial had been helping it learn about e-scooters and the “role they can play in London’s transport offer”. The trial launched in June 2021 with ten London boroughs now taking part. There are now 4,425 rental e-scooters available in the city with more than 500 designated parking locations. To date, almost two million journeys have been made.
On 25 October TfL launched a competitive procurement process for operators to run the next phase of the capital’s rental e-scooter trial. TfL says it will choose operators “on their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards”. These standards and requirements, already present in the current trial phase, will be “further enhanced” based on learnings from the trial and other cities and countries to date, technology developments and feedback from riders and stakeholders.
Transport for London said it was possible the contracts let under this new procurement would continue for longer than the DfT’s national trial “in anticipation of new legislation being passed”. It further said that to ensure service continuation, the current trial contracts operated by Dott, Lime and TIER, due to end this year, will be extended to September 2023, when the procurement will be complete.
It is part of the trial requirement that operators provide critical data to TfL and the participating boroughs so that they may gain insight into the impact of e-scooters on London’s transport goals, such as Vision Zero, the goal of eliminating road deaths and serious injuries in London.
TfL said safety was a core of the trial and issued a reminder that using privately owned e-scooters on public land, including public roads, remained illegal. Unlike the e-scooters participating in the trial, private e-scooters are unregulated. The trial results will feed into the UK government’s regulations around any legalisation of privately-owned e-scooters.
“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.”
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