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An update on London’s shared micromobility options

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Spring 2022 is looking like a second rebirth for shared micromobility in London with multiple electric bikeshare operators now battling for market-share in several boroughs.

Meanwhile, the e-scooter sharing trials continue unabated, and the long-standing Santander Cycles awaits one of its most significant upgrades in its 12-year history.

London’s e-scooter trial update

Since launching on June 7 last year, the London shared e-scooter trials has seen over 740,000 trips across the operating area, which covers 10 of London’s 33 boroughs.

There was a slight up-tick in the number of journeys last month, and the numbers will hopefully continue to accelerate this spring after a quiet winter.

A maximum number of 3,885 e-scooters are currently permitted. The three operators – Lime, TIER and Dott – are using most of their quota allocation, with just over a thousand for each operator.

Many of the e-scooters are located in the central London boroughs of Westminster and Camden, with outer boroughs such as Richmond seeing relatively few e-scooters available.

Dockless electric bikeshare

This is the micromobility mode which is seeing some real change this spring.

Lime has long been operating JUMP e-bikes, significantly increasing its London footprint earlier this year.

It now has e-bike contracts with seven London boroughs, including as far north as Tottenham, as well as south to Kingston, west to Wembley and east to Stratford.

Lime in London has big plans for its bikes, and will be switching to a new model that uses the same battery as its e-scooters, which is just as generous with the acceleration as its existing JUMP bikes. 

The bikes are currently £1 (for the unlock fee) plus 19p per minute – notably more than its e-scooters, which remain at £1+15p per minute, with over 1,000 currently available.

The company is currently running a “Break up with Cars” campaign during April’s “Earth Month” where you can pledge via its app to adopt a car-free lifestyle.

Hal Stevenson, Senior Public Affairs Manager for Lime UK & Ireland told Zag Daily: “The last 12 months has shown a real appetite for e-bikes in London. We saw our annual ride total for 2021 double in comparison to previous years. Usage is at an all-time high right now, and this trend is only set to continue with Spring and Summer being our most popular times of year.

“We’re very excited to launch our Gen 4 e-bikes in London in the coming months. Londoners will be some of the first Lime riders outside of the US that will get the chance to try out our new and improved Lime-green ride. A key feature for us is the interoperable battery with our e-scooters, which significantly improves the operational efficiency and sustainability of our service.”

Lime Gen4 e-bike

HumanForest relaunched its e-bike service in September last year and has recently expanded the size of its fleet. The company is also set to launch e-mopeds within the coming months.

This operator covers Islington and the City of London, and recently expanded to cover Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea boroughs, as well as the riverside parts of Lambeth and Southwark boroughs.

This gives them good coverage of central London now, although finishing a journey anywhere in Westminster will result in an additional fee to cover relocating the bicycle back outside the borough.

There are currently 1,300 HumanForest bikes available, costing 15p per minute with no unlock fee, and the first 10 minutes a day are free. HumanForest’s operations are entirely carbon neutral and both the e-bike and e-moped fleets are powered by certified renewable energy.

Agustin Guilisasti, CEO and Founder of HumanForest, told Zag Daily: “London has been a fantastic place for HumanForest to launch. We’ve seen great uptake of our e-bikes and are hoping to continue to provide more areas of London with access to them over the coming months.”

Dott recently launched its electric bikes in London too. The shared micromobility operators bicycle footprint is much smaller than its e-scooters covering just Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea, where around 200 are currently available. These are £1 (unlock fee) plus 17p per minute, which is the same as its e-scooters.

Finally, TIER’s e-bikes are £1+15p per minute like its e-scooters. They are available in the same area as its e-scooters, but can also be found in the borough of Islington.

Santander Cycles

The venerable fleet of 12,000 non-electric bikes is seeing monthly records regularly broken, and had well over 10 million rides last year.

The company is looking to build on this momentum this summer by expanding with some new docking stations, including potentially in Herne Hill in south London, while also introducing some electric bikes into its fleet.

Initially, around 500 bikes will be rolled out. This is approximately 4% of its current operation so you will have to search for them, but if the experience from other mixed-mode cities is anything to go by, the electric option will be wildly popular.

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