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One year of shared e-scooter trials in the UK: A timeline

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With the UK now more than a year on from the start of its shared e-scooter trials, Zag has chronicled a busy 12 months.

July 2020

  • UK startup Ginger beats the bigger operators by launching 25 scooters in Middlesbrough, available for journeys between four locations in the town. After some initial issues with under-age users, high-speed roads and shopping centres, it stabilised and now has been operating without major incidents for a whole year. It expanded to 100 vehicles but is now back down to around 25.

August 2020

  • Lime and Spin both launch in Milton Keynes. Ginger expands to Hartlepool and Redcar.

September 2020

  • Zag launches.
  • Ginger launches in Milton Keynes and Stafford.
  • Voi launches in Northampton and Birmingham, both starting small but now with over 1000 scooters each.
  • Voi’s Coventry city centre fleet launches but is pulled 5 days after its launch, after high usage levels (but some misuse too) reported. It has not returned since.
  • Zwings, another UK start-up, launches scooters in Cheltenham and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
  • Beryl, already operating manual and pedelec bikeshare bikes in Norwich, add scooters to their mix, making them the first tri-mode micromobility operator.

October 2020

  • England hits the 1,000 shared e-scooter milestone.
  • 12 trials launch this month – the busiest month for new starts, including two that have grown to become the biggest two in the UK – Bristol (Voi) and Liverpool (Voi).
  • Voi also launches scooters in Cambridge, later adding bikes, and in Bath.
  • Neuron launches in Slough, Wind launches in Nottingham, TIER launches in York, Lime launches in Salford, Bird launches in Redditch, Zipp launches in Taunton, and Zwings launches in Gloucester and Yeovil.

November 2020

  • 2,000 shared scooters now available.
  • Ginger’s Redcar trial suddenly ends.
  • Zipp expands to Aylesbury and High Wycombe.
  • Beryl launches their first scooter-only fleet on the Isle of Wight, gradually expanding to several towns there with rural connecting corridors allowing for longer trips.
  • Bird launches a fleet in Canterbury but initially only for university students and staff.

December 2020

  • The Coventry scooters finally reappear, but at the University of Warwick campus on the outskirts of the city.
  • Voi launches in Kettering and West Bromwich. Spin launches in Basildon, the first of their Essex town fleets. Ginger launches in Chester and Scunthorpe.

January 2021

  • January is a tough month for launches but Beryl launches its now very popular e-scooter operation in Bournemouth, adding it to its existing bikeshare fleet there.
  • The UK’s first long-term e-scooter hire trial launches, with residents of Bristol, Bath and surrounding areas able to borrow a Voi scooter for a month or longer.

February 2021

  • Neuron starts operations in Newcastle, the launch delayed due to snow. Spin expands to Chelmsford and Colchester, and Voi launches in Oxford and Corby.

March 2021

  • The end of March was the Department for Transport’s original deadline for the launch of new trials. Although this got postponed, many operators still rushed to launch by the end of this month, including Voi in Southampton, Portsmouth, Wellingborough and Rushden, Spin in Clacton, Neuron in Sunderland and Bird opened up their hitherto private student fleet in Canterbury to the public. Ginger launched in Great Yarmouth and Whitehaven, and Zwings launched the UK’s smallest e-scooter sharing fleets in Chard and Crewkerne, Somerset.

April 2021

  • There have been over two million e-scooter sharing journeys in total, so far.
  • The UK’s sharing fleets now total over 10,000 e-scooters.
  • Lime launched a small fleet in Rochdale, near Manchester.
  • Zag analysis reveals Wind in Nottingham as the fleet with the highest daily usage per scooter.

May 2021

  • Lime, TIER and Dott finally revealed as the winners of the London tender – the same companies that were awarded contracts in Paris.
  • Zipp launched in Princes Risborough.

June 2021

  • 4 million e-scooter sharing journeys to date.
  • The London trial finally launches – all three operators starting on the same day. But initially, it is piecemeal, with three unconnected trial areas.
  • Not to be outdoor, Zipp launches in Minehead, Somerset.
  • Zag estimates there are 360,000 shared e-scooters across Europe, of which 15,000 are in the UK.

July 2021

  • One million e-scooter sharing journey milestone passed in Bristol.
  • 10 per cent of the UK population now live in an area served by e-scooter sharing services.
  • There are now 16,000 shared e-scooters across the UK but the expansion rate is slowing as many operators choose to consolidate and provide good service to their existing userbase, even though permit totals could allow up to 47,000.  
  • As the trials move into their second year, the warm summer weather and holiday sessions means nearly a million shared e-scooter journeys are happening every fortnight in the UK, not bad for a fleet of just 16,000.

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