The Department for Transport has explained the reasoning behind its decision to extend the UK e-scooter trials until 31 March 2022.
The trials, which were launched in July 2020, had been set to end in November, but were extended due to delays to the start of trials in a number of locations, including London.
The extension received criticism from the CEO of e-scooter manufacturer Taur, Richard Adey, who told The Times that “dithering and delay” in legislation being introduced “allowed more and more unregulated and out-of-control scooters to proliferate on streets”.
However, the DfT believes that the trials are critical for informing future policy decisions regarding e-scooters, with the move to extend the trials taken in order build further evidence about the safety, benefits, public perceptions and wider impacts of e-scooters.
A DfT spokesperson said: “The global pandemic has seen unprecedented changes to how we travel, which is why we are running e-scooter trials in over 30 areas in England.
“To ensure we get the best evidence of their benefits, impact on public space, and to help us design future regulations to protect the public, the end date for trials has been extended to 31 March 2022.”
Each area taking part in the trials has a fleet of shared e-scooters provided by one exclusive operator, with Sweden-based micromobility firm Voi currently operating in 18 towns and cities across the UK.
Responding to the extension of the trials, UK general manager of Voi Technology Jack Samler explained that it helped providers “build strong evidence of how e-scooters can improve transport options in our cities”.
“E-scooters are part of a green transport revolution that is taking place across the UK in our cities and towns, allowing people to travel in a safe, sustainable and affordable way and reducing air pollution,” he told Zag.
“We are delighted that the Department for Transport has decided to extend the trials of these new vehicles, which Voi now operates in 18 locations across the country. As lockdown lifts across England, we need micro-mobility options more than ever to help people get their lives moving again.
“Extending the trials until Spring 2022 will help us to continue building strong evidence of how e-scooters can improve transport options in our cities and urban areas, particularly in cities such as Southampton and Portsmouth, where trials have only just got underway.
“At Voi, thousands of riders have turned to use our e-scooters in the most challenging circumstances of lockdown. We believe that they will be an essential part of helping kickstart our local economies by helping people to get out and about again, both for work and leisure.”