Scooter trials in the UK: the cities; the operators; and the rules.
Scooter startups are very happy bunnies today.
The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) will allow cities and local authorities across the country to start running e-scooter trials from this Saturday.
This is a big deal; until recently, it looked like the UK wouldn’t legalise — or even consider legalising — scooters for years, unlike just about every other country in Europe. In May, the government made a huge U-turn, and fast-tracked plans for scooter trials, which it had originally intended to start in 2021.
For weeks now, dozens of scooter startup operators have been charging up their electric batteries, trying to cosy up to local government decision-makers and hiring top brass, ready to take on the market.
From this weekend onwards, they can finally hit the streets.
Here’s what you need to know about the state of play.
Which scooter operators are in the running?
CoMoUK, a shared transport advocacy group, lists 18 companies which hope to win local government tenders. They include UK-based shared bike operator Beryl (which has recently launched a range of e-scooters too), Swedish scooter startup Voi, Berlin-based scooter company Tier, Amsterdam-based scooter provider Dott and US-based micromobility companies Lime, Bird and Spin.
Tier says it already has 1,000 scooters at the ready in a UK warehouse — and will be shipping over more soon. Lime also says it has “thousands of scooters ready to be rolled out across the UK”.
Voi, meanwhile, says it’s hoping to hit 100,000 rides per day in the UK by the end of the year.
Which cities and local authorities are interested in trials?
Around 45 cities and local authorities are keen to give scooters a go, including Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle and Nottingham. Various London boroughs are also interested.
They’re hoping that e-scooters, along with other micromobility solutions, can provide an alternative to both congested public transport and private cars as the country eases out of lockdown.
They have until the end of August to start trials.
Originally published by
Amy Lewin | June 30, 2020