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The revolution continues as more cities sign up to electric scooter trials

21 October 2020

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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)

What: Slough, York and Cambridge all went live this week with electric scooter trials, featuring Neuron, Tier and Voi respectively. It’s the first entrance for both Neuron and Tier in the UK.

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

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