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It’s not all about London this week (but mostly it is)

18 November 2020

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The scooter story that this week shone brighter than a sequinned Strictly costume was the publication of London’s e-scooter trial tender. But there’s a lot more going on outside the capital – and a lot more at Zag.

Delight in this lovely little article by Laura Laker on five fantastic parklet designs; gasp at our rather forthright assessment of Luton’s trial postponement; marvel at the wonderful colours in our chart showing all e-scooter programme pricing across England; be soothed by answers to 10 common fears voiced ahead of e-scooter trials; and dive into signing up for our second virtual conference, where we’ll grill fleet operators on current topics.

1: TfL’s mega scooter achievement

What: It’s arrived: a tender for an e-scooter pilot programme in London. In short: three operators, beginning in Spring 2021, for a 12-month trial. In quite the coup by TfL, a third of the boroughs have already signed up and more may follow. In related news, read this detailed analysis into e-scooter parking in London, informed by lessons learned in Paris.

Why it matters: This is the jewel in crown for UK trials and also for e-scooter programmes across the Western world. London is the one everyone wants – and TfL knows it. The tender is structured in a way that prioritises experience, innovation and safety and initial fleet sizes are modest (up to 50 scooters per participating borough per operator) to minimise teething issues. It’s a typically thorough approach with some unique features. TfL and London Boroughs deserve a big hand for getting this far, this quickly.  RR

2: Taunton residents love Zipp-ing around

What: The small town of Taunton has recorded some truly epic numbers in its first week of operation, while its operator Zipp has also launched this week in Aylesbury (Monday) and High Wycombe (Wednesday).

Why it matters: Will e-scooters work everywhere as a transport mode? Will they be financially viable everywhere for operators to run? These are some of the questions that the DfT trials are designed to answer. Taunton is just as important in this regard as a Liverpool or Milton Keynes, and the fact that demand is just as strong there points in one direction: England clearly loves e-scooters.  RR

3: Bird appoints new UK boss

What: Charlotte Bailey has been appointed as UK general manager at Bird. In other Bird news, riders can now pay using PayPal (TfL’s tender calls for a wide range of payment options to be presented to Londoners).

Why it matters: Bailey’s selection is a great move by the micromobility operator, both for promoting from within and for proving yet again that gender is no barrier to top jobs in this sector. In fact, the e-scooter industry is pioneering in the transport sector for awarding so many leadership roles to women, as we’ve been highlighting in our series Micromobility’s Power Women. Well done Bird and well done e-scooter fleet providers: striving for equality and inclusion clearly runs deeper in this industry than pretty words.  RR

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