Transport for London and London Councils have launched a competition to select up to three operators for a twelve-month trial of rental e-scooters.
A trial aims to promote safety standards and develop a better understanding of the impact of this emerging mode of transport on London's roads. A competition has been launched and TfL has said that up to three will be selected to take part in the 12-month trial, which is due to start in spring 2021.
Guidance issued by the Department for Transport in the summer now allows local authorities in the UK to trial e-scooters as part of a rental scheme. The trials are 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 coronavirus, which would make air quality worse and increase congestion.
TfL, London Councils and the boroughs will co-ordinate a trial in the capital, promoting safe and consistent standards across a defined, geographically limited trial area on London's streets. All boroughs will be able to be involved in the trial, which is likely to be the largest in the UK and will provide valuable data to understand the impact of these vehicles on the way people travel around the capital. A third of London's boroughs have expressed their intention to join the trial initially, with more considering joining at a later stage.
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."
Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, said: "We are going ahead with this year-long trial to explore whether rented e-scooters could be a positive addition to London's transport network, complementing walking, cycling and public transport and supporting our city-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Running the trial safely is vital and operator performance will be regularly reviewed. All companies applying to join the trial will need to demonstrate they have plans in place to keep our streets clear and protect riders, pedestrians and other road users - including more vulnerable Londoners. We will also be looking for operators that understand London's unique and diverse local communities and infrastructure, and can work with London Councils, TfL and individual boroughs."
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