Transport for London and London Councils have launched a competition to select up to three operators for a 12-month trial of rental e-scooters.
TfL, London Councils and London’s boroughs are working together on plans for the trial, which aims to promote safety standards and develop a better understanding of the impact of e-scooters on the Capital’s roads.
The competition is open to all e-scooter operators. Up to three will be selected to take part in the 12-month trial, which is due to start in spring 2021.
The trial is part of a wider approach across TfL, London boroughs and national government to enable people to use greener forms of transport and help avoid a damaging, car-led recovery from Covid-19.
All boroughs will be able to be involved in the trial, which is likely to be the largest in the UK. Around a third have expressed their intention to join the trial initially, with more considering joining at a later stage.
Operators taking part in the selection process will be assessed on their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards.
Operators will also be required to provide critical data for TfL and the boroughs to understand the impact of e-scooters on London’s transport goals, including Vision Zero, a shift to walking, cycling and public transport and zero emission targets.
Boroughs will control parking locations for e-scooters to protect against street clutter and will be able to designate certain areas as ‘no-go areas’ – where e-scooters cannot be ridden and will automatically come to a safe stop – or as ‘go-slow areas’, where the speed of the e-scooter will be automatically limited to 8mph.
Like all other vehicles, e-scooters will be banned from riding on pavements – but will be able to use the same space as bicycles.
The total number of e-scooters involved in the trial has not yet been determined, but TfL and the boroughs say they will start ‘cautiously’ with between 60 to 150 e-scooters per participating borough, with e-scooters able to move freely across the trial area.
Operators who demonstrate strong performance and compliance will be able to increase the number of e-scooters in their fleet over the course of the trial, while those who do not may have to reduce their fleet size.
Michael Hurwitz, TfL’s director of transport innovation, said: ”We’re determined to make sure that London recovers from coronavirus as safely and sustainably as possible and are supportive of innovative solutions that could help.
“Safety will be our number one priority during this e-scooter rental trial, which will be critical to providing us the data and insights we need to determine whether e-scooters are a viable part of a greener and healthier future for London. We’ll continue to take the interests of all Londoners into account as we work towards starting the trial next year.”