Transport for London (TfL) will begin trialling rental e-scooters in the spring, it was announced today.
The transport network will work with London Councils to select three companies for the trials, which will take place across all London boroughs that wish to take part.
Trials will last for 12 months, with roughly a third of boroughs thus far expressing interest in the project.
Lime, Voi, Wind, Tier, Bolt and Bird are all expected to apply for the trials.
In July transport secretary Grant Shapps brought forward trials of rental e-scooters around the country, but the London trial will likely be the largest in the UK.
TfL said that individual 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’.
They will also be able to designate ‘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 trials do not cover privately-owned e-scooters, the use of which on public roads is currently banned.
The total number of e-scooters involved in the trial has not yet been determined, but TfL and the boroughs expect to start cautiously with between 60 to 150 e-scooters per participating borough, with e-scooters able to move freely across the trial area.
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.”
Florence Milner, general manager UK & Ireland at e-scooter firm Lime said: “We’re delighted that the Mayor, TfL and the London Boroughs are taking the next step in ensuring that we avoid a car-based recovery, by committing to a widespread e-scooter trial.
“As the world’s biggest e-scooter provider, alongside our experience of operating a successful e-bike service in the Capital for more than two years, we at Lime are excited for the opportunity to bid to bring our electric scooters to London, helping replace hundreds of thousands of car journeys every year.”