DfT gives local authorities power to change e-scooter trials

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The Department for Transport (DfT) has changed its rules regarding e-scooter trials in the UK to grant local authorities more power.

Local authorities which are currently running e-scooter trials now have the opportunity to request changes to the geography and the fleet size of their trial.

Requests for changes can be made to the DfT until April 5 and approved requests will come into force from June 1 this year.

“Following our extension of e-scooter trials to May 2026, we are now offering local authorities who want to continue operating their trials the opportunity to request changes, including the area covered or the size of the e-scooter fleet, with a focus on new local transport objectives,” a DfT spokesperson said in response to Zag Daily’s request for comment.

“Safety is our top priority and by extending the trials we can gather further evidence to ensure any future legislation balances safety, user accountability and market growth.”

In submitting requests, all applicants must include an updated strategic local trial objective which justifies the requested change, an outline of existing measures in place to tackle antisocial behaviour, endorsement of the application, and confirmation that the current trial will continue to meet vehicle special order (VSO) requirements.

For local authorities wishing to change the geography of their trial, they also need to explain the reasoning for the expansion of the existing trial geography and maps of the current and proposed trial area.

Local authorities wishing to change their fleet size should also explain the reasoning behind updating the trial fleet size and provide a comprehensive fleet management plan on how vehicles will be safely maintained.

Voi is one operator that’s responded to the updated government guidance.

“While we welcome this move by the Department for Transport to make it easier to expand existing UK e-scooter trials both in terms of geography and fleet size, we want the government to make it possible for more cities and towns to join the trials so that more people can benefit from this safe, affordable and sustainable transport service,” Matthew Pencharz, Head of Public Policy for Voi UK, Ireland and France told Zag Daily.

E-scooter trials are currently live in 22 regions across England, and have been extended four times with the latest extension in action until May 2026.

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