E-scooter Rental Surges After ULEZ Expansion

Three operators report a 30% increase in new users

E-scooters have become more popular since the ULEZ expansion
E-scooters have become more popular since the ULEZ expansion

The number of Londoners hiring e-scooters as part of TfL’s trial rental scheme has increased since the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, figures have revealed.

The three operators involved in the trial – Tier, Dott and Lime – reported a 30 per cent increase in the number of new users in the week following the expansion of the ULEZ.

During that same period, the total number of journeys made using TfL-approved e-scooters increased by almost 10 per cent.

Alan Clarke, senior director of policy for northern Europe at Lime, has said that there is a “direct causational link” between the ULEZ expansion and the increase in users hiring e-scooters.

Mr Clarke said, “We had a bump during the week of about 30 per cent more new riders. Part of that, certainly, is going to be due to the increased focus that was on sustainable travel whilst the expansion of the ULEZ was underway.

“That week there was a lot of media coverage around the need for Londoners to continually find more sustainable, lower-emission ways of travelling and also the fact that there was going to be an increased charge for older vehicles to drive within central London.”

He added that the coverage of the ULEZ expansion led to people “taking another look at the choices that they make when they travel”.

More than 355,000 e-scooter journeys have so far been made since the TfL hire trial began in June, 100,000 of which occurred between September 27 and October 24, the month leading up to the ULEZ expansion.

Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning, said, “We’re determined to clean up London’s toxic air and walking, cycling, public transport and innovative forms of transport such as rental e-scooters and bikes all have a potential role to play in this.

“We’re pleased to see more people choosing cleaner forms of transport and will continue to work with councils, e-scooter and bike hire operators and others to invest in low-carbon and low-emission ways to travel around the capital.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan officially expanded the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to the north and south circular roads on October 25 and has said that it will bring cleaner air to an additional 3.8 million people.

Mr Khan said, “The initial indications are that we are seeing fewer non-compliant vehicles, we’re seeing fewer vehicles which is fantastic because it means that [the ULEZ] is working. But it will take about a month to get the proper raw figures because we deliberately introduced this at a quiet period during half-term, so you’ve got to compare apples with apples.”

Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter

November 5, 2021