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UK shared e-scooter market doubles in size to nearly 6,000

The UK’s shared e-scooter market has nearly doubled in size since December with 5,700 units now available across 36 towns and cities in the UK.

The Department for Transport (DfT) launched the first e-scooter rental trials in the summer last year and new ones are continuing to launch.

Using a combination of data sources, including data feeds and scanning the apps from the 11 operators working in the UK so far, Zag estimates there are currently 5,700 e-scooters available on our streets and hire hubs.

Zag’s last UK shared e-scooter trend report showed there were 3,099 available at the start of December 2020.

The number of scooters for hire on the street is expected to dramatically increase this year as London launches its own trials soon and the spring weather gives the market a further boost.

An announcement on who will be running the London operations – and when they start – is expected within the next month.

Transport for London (TfL) launched the tender process to find three e-scooter operators in November 2020, with over a third of London boroughs expected to take part.

Voi has a 60% UK market share

Voi e-scooters in Birmingham

One company is operating almost 60% of these, Voi, who has 800 e-scooters in each of Liverpool and Bristol.

Both cities have seen rapid expansions in the numbers and also operating area in the last couple of months, increasing the number of potential journeys out from just city centres to cover the places where significant numbers of people live, too.

Voi also occupies third and fourth place on the city leaderboard, with 600 in Northampton and the same number in central Birmingham.

Spin rounds out the top five, with 300 scooters in Milton Keynes.

The UK’s smallest public operation is Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast, where Ginger operates 14, currently in an adjacent business park but due to move to the town soon.

The most recent launches include Oxford (Voi, 50 scooters, 18 February), Newcastle (Neuron, 50 scooters, 16 February) and Colchester (Spin, also 50 scooters on 16 February).

The “50 scooter” number being an ideal test number for new operations in a town or city, it seems.

Expansions and recalibrations

• Zwings has grown its small Yeovil operation from 30 to 50 scooters.
• Lime in Salford has expanded from 50 to 90.
• Bird in Redditch has gone from 70 to 100.
• Voi in Bath has moved from 100 to 130.
• Tier in York has added 60 new e-scooters from 120 to 180.
• Spin in Chelmsford, which only just launched at the start of February has already expanded from 50 to 70.

Meanwhile, Lime in Milton Keynes has gradually dropped from 250 to 150, and Neuron in Slough have also shrunk from 230 to 130.

Ginger in Redcar remains the only trial closure, while Voi in Coventry seems to have successfully transitioned from the city to the University of Warwick campus.

A “shakeout” of poorly performing operations, therefore, hasn’t yet happened, even though the great majority of operators are taking full financial risk.

The UK “bet” is still on.

London could be the key for some operators to build the volume they need to make a profit in the UK.

For those that miss out on the contract for the capital, could we see them pull out or walk away from trials early?

New trials in the pipeline

There are still 12 more e-scooter trials in the pipeline including – London (three operators, not yet announced), Braintree (Spin), Brentwood (Spin), Clacton-on-Sea (Spin), Peterborough (Voi), Portsmouth (Voi), Barnstaple (Voi), Sunderland (Neuron) and Rochdale, Southampton and Winchester (operators not yet announced).

Canterbury (Bird) aims to launch to the public this summer, having been open only to university staff and students since its launch late last year.

Will any new operators, such as Dott, Link, Moo or Zeus, appear?

Will anyone colour their scooters red?

We are also hopeful that at some point there will be a Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish operations and Ireland itself is also ripe for expansion in areas like Dublin, Cork and Galway.

Zag will continue to monitor the market and post further updates to show how the UK e-scooter market is continuing to grow.

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