Take a deep breath. This week: more e-scooter trials are announced; more cities go live; more operators get their first wheels on the ground; more detailed Zag test-rides and tech deep-dives; our handy little guide to e-scooter parking types; and we reveal our brand new e-scooter conference with a panel of international experts. It’s all go for micromobility in the UK. Blink and you’ll miss it.
1: A tale of three cities (and fleet operators)
Why it matters: Three very different cities, three very different operators, and three different programmes. Voi is a known quantity now, thanks to its domination of British trials. But these first outings for Neuron and Tier, which both have technologically jam-packed scooters and dedicated parking throughout each city, will be instructive in how different approaches stack up.
The UK is getting a properly diversified set of trials, in geography, demographic, technology and operating model. The DfT deserves a big dollop of praise for creating a framework that allows such variety, so quickly. RR
2: Another tale of three cities (coming soon)
What: Wind announced it has won trial schemes in Nottingham and Derby, with the town famous for Robin Hood getting started as early as next week. Elsewhere, Beryl will be running a trial on the Isle of Wight.
Why it matters: These two companies are at opposite ends of the scale: Wind hasn’t yet worked here in the UK and is busy building its British team, while Beryl is a British company, has designed much of the technological gubbins for the Santander Cycles bike-share’s latest model, and is running a live e-scooter programme in Norwich. More diversity is A Good Thing for these trials. See previous pat on the back for the DfT. RR
3: TfL takes a stand for data and we love it
What: Ahead of a London e-scooter trial, TfL has awarded a significant contract to design and build a data-sharing platform that will be able to track scooter share and bike-share in real-time. All boroughs participating in the London programme will get access to the platform.
Why it matters: TfL is not prepared to tolerate the type of chaos other major cities have seen with an unregulated explosion of e-scooters and multiple operators – or the type of chaos British cities saw with a similar introduction of dockless bikes a few years ago. A detailed, stringent trial that puts data at its centre is the right way to go. It’s a move which shows TfL is very serious about, not just getting a trial right, but becoming a beacon for cities around the globe to follow. RR