By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter
TfL and London Councils have today launched a trial of e-scooter rentals across London that will last for 12 months.
Electric scooters will be available to hire and ride in Ealing, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Richmond as well as in Canary Wharf, while the City of London is expected to join the trial next month.
A rental will cost between £3.25 and £3.40 for a 15-minute ride, with a fee to unlock the e-scooter as well as a per-minute fee for each ride.
Will Norman, TfL’s walking and cycling commissioner, said that TfL wanted to explore how e-scooters can act as “an innovative alternative” to short car journeys in the capital.
Mr Norman said: “As we look to our capital’s future, we want to ensure a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. We know that a huge portion of car journeys in London are for very short distances, and we want to explore how e-scooters can act as an innovative alternative.
“E-scooters have been on our streets for some time now but with very little regulation. This trial will have safety at its heart, bringing in rigorous precautions and parking measures while taking the needs of all road users into account and seeing what role e-scooters can play in London’s future.”
The trial has been welcomed by transport watchdog London TravelWatch, with director Emma Gibson highlighting research that has shown that e-scooters “have the potential to be a much greener transport option for many people”.
But Ms Gibson warned that enforcement would be needed against users who “endanger others through anti-social behaviour or by riding on the pavement”.
Last week, concerns were raised about the trial after data from the Metropolitan Police revealed that more than 500 crimes in the past year, including robberies and assaults, were carried out by people riding e-scooters at the time.
London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who raised the issue with the Mayor of London last month, said that “ensuring that crime committed by people using e-scooters is curbed is just another challenge that must be met”.
The e-scooters involved in the trial will each have a unique identification number and will be fitted with safety features such as GPS-controlled parking to ensure they are only parked in designated areas.
Metropolitan Police chief superintendent Simon Ovens has said that the Met is “pleased to support this trial” but has warned that the use of privately-owned e-scooters will remain illegal and “will be dealt with by way of seizure”.
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