Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils have extended London’s trial of rental e-scooters until May 2024. The news comes as one of the capital’s three operators, Lime, announced a £6.3m expansion of its services with a call for some of the city’s car parking spaces to be given over to micromobility.
London’s e-scooter trials began in June 2021 with the government seemingly waiting on their outcome before it announces broader changes to the legality of privately-owned e-scooters.
Recently updated DfT guidance now allows local authority trials to continue until May 31, 2024 and in most areas this is what is happening. (One notable exception is Canterbury where Kent County Council explained it had decided to truncate the trial because 'accidents could have been worse than they were'.)
TfL has launched a competitive procurement process for operators to run the next phase of London’s share schemes and has temporarily extended the current contracts with Dott, Lime and Tier until that process is complete.
TfL's e-scooter trial lead, Helen Sharp, said: "E-scooters could play an important role in ensuring a green and sustainable future for London, which is why we're really pleased to be able to extend the e-scooter trial.
“We're working closely with London Councils on our plans for the next phase of the trial, which will help us build on its successes so far. We hope Londoners can continue to benefit from the trial and we will continue to use its data to learn more about the role e-scooters could play in helping people move around London sustainably."
The London Evening Standard reports that parallel to these developments, Lime has announced £6.3m of extra investment, expanding its e-bike rental offering in particular into the boroughs of Hackney and Hammersmith and Fulham.
Against a backdrop of complaints about the parking of e-scooters and e-bikes, Lime CEO Wayne Ting took the opportunity to suggest that car parking spots could be used more efficiently.
“People complain to me on social media that an e-bike is blocking their street, but right behind that bike is hundreds of cars taking up a lot more space,” he said.
“Why don’t we take a tenth of the 6.8 million car parking spots and give them over to bike parking instead?”
Last month Lime introduced parking wardens, deploying them near busy e-scooter bays in Central London where they handed out ‘Good Parking Notices’ and free ride tokens to those who parked responsibly.