Council approve TfL e-scooter trial in Camden

Following a public consultation, Camden Council has agreed to join the Transport for London (TfL) rental e-scooter trial.

TfL has been working with London boroughs and other organisations such as the Metropolitan Police and London Councils to develop proposals for a rental e-scooter trial in London. The aim of the trial is to provide an alternative option to public transport, taxis or private cars.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden
“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how communities in Camden live, travel and work.

“We want our streets to have more space for everyone to walk and cycle, for you to be breathing cleaner air, for children to get to and from school safely and for businesses to be able to flourish.

“Rental e-scooters could be one solution, providing an alternative mode of transport that is emission free, potentially reducing the number of motor vehicles on our streets and easing pressures on the transport network, which is why we undertook an extensive consultation to hear the views from as many people as possible.”
Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

The council undertook a consultation from 21 June to 12 July 2021, with the feedback providing valuable information on how the public and key stakeholders perceive the proposals.

The trial will enable the public to hire free standing e-scooters, available for use on-street borough-wide, in a similar way to the dockless hire bikes already provided in Camden.

At the end of each journey the e-scooter will be required to be left within a designated parking bay, the majority of which the council will be providing on the road in place of motor vehicle parking spaces (rather than on the pavement), allowing the next user to then hire the e-scooter from the bay. Providing designated parking bays will help ensure that pavements are kept free of clutter, allowing pedestrians to move easily.

Councillor Adam Harrison continued:

“Much of the current public opinion of e-scooters is largely based on their interaction with illegal privately owned vehicles, that can in some cases be ridden in a dangerous manner.

“It is important to note that there are several differences between these and the e-scooters that will be involved in the trial, and how they will be able to operate.

“The trial e-scooters will only be able to operate on the road and will be limited to 12.5 mph. GPS technology on each e-scooter enables the speed to be managed remotely.

“Crucially, many of the consultation respondents, expressed a concern about locations in the borough where the e-scooters would mix with concentrations of pedestrians, so we have ensured that we have developed go-slow zones, including market streets and all Healthy School Streets, where e-scooters will have a maximum speed of 8mph, and they will not be able to operate in our parks and open spaces at all.

“The use of GPS enables us to power down a rental e-scooter in a safe manner in areas where they should not be permitted. The e-scooter would have to be wheeled out of the no-go zone by the user for the journey to be resumed.”

The council will also work with the rental e-scooter companies, TfL, and the police as part of the development and implementation of the trial, which would include e-scooter training and enforcement activity.

It is anticipated that following the implementation of the required Experimental Traffic Orders, that e-scooters will be available to hire in the borough from the end of October 2021.

Councillor Adam Harrison continued:

“The ongoing feedback from the public during the trial is very important to us, which is why we will be setting up a commonplace page, once the scheme is live, on our Safer Travel in Camden site to enable people to continue to feedback and provide comment during the trial.

“Following the conclusion of the trial in June 2022, data collected by TfL, the participating boroughs and operators will be used to decide on whether to extend, for a possible six months, discontinue or make permanent rental e-scooter operations in London, in accordance with DfT guidelines.

“We will also use all feedback we receive during the trial to help inform our next steps, and to help decide whether to continue beyond the trial period with e-scooters in the borough.”