UK fast tracks e-scooter trial; now open to all local areas

The government has changed the timetable for the forthcoming e-scooter trials – now to take place next month instead of next year.

The move could lead to rental e-scooters on UK roads as early as June, according to the government, which announced the move with its big £2 billion for cycling and walking declaration, made as the nation grapples with getting back on the move as the Covid-19 lockdown gradually eases.

Originally set to take place in four ‘Future Transport Zones’ (Portsmouth and Southampton; West of England Combined Authority; and Derby and Nottingham), the trial of rental e-scooters will now be offered out to all local areas across the country, with the aim of allowing the government to assess their benefits as well as their impact on public space.

The cycling industry is increasingly dabbling in the sector, while newer players like Pure Electric has recently secured several prime retail locations in its grab of former Cycle Republic sites.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said: “The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and I am pleased the government has put its faith in us again with this new and innovative trial of e-scooters.

“This trial will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the region, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home.

“We will also use the trial to look at the current transport challenges the coronavirus pandemic has presented us with and explore how e-scooters could be used to help tackle them.

“No region is better equipped than the West Midlands to test, review, and implement trials such as these at pace and scale, and that is testament to the hard work and innovation of those working in our future transport sector.”