Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
A report outlining the rental e-scooter trial achievements to-date along with recommendations with dockless mobility strategy to include dockless bikes.
1.1 That the Appendices E, F, L, and Mto this report be exempt from disclosure by virtue of the Local Government Act 1972 Schedule 12A, Paragraph 3 (as amended), in that it contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
1.2 That the Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality approves the City Council to remain a participating borough of the London-wide rental e-scooter trial, administered by TfL until further announcements made by the DfT on the future of e-scooters and trial schemes across the UK. At present, the expectant limit of this position appears to align with provisional dates 2024/25, when the proposed new Transport Bill is expected to be passed in Parliament.
1.3 That the Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality agrees with the procedural recommendations associated with Recommendation 2.2 and permits the City Council to make the Formal Traffic Management Order consultation for the scheme constituent four Experimental Traffic Orders to be made permanent. These ETOs were made for e-scooter kerbside parking in 58 locations and allow rental e-scooters to be used on cycle lanes and cycle tracks; and
1.4 That the Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality approves the principle that when the City Council is in a position to review the future of the 68 e-scooter rental bays with the possible introduction of dockless bike rental bays, then sections of unused or ‘dead’ footway/paved surfaces are considered first. This recommendation is included in this report as it would enable officers to commence planning of our next phases of potential Westminster ‘Micromobility’ bays. These will be identified outside of this report and approvals will be sought through the Cabinet Member’s briefing process, subject to informal consultation as required.
2. Reasons for Decision
2.1 To allow service continuity for the rental e-scooter trial and to align it to the extended DfT timelines nationally, and to ensure that scheme users can access Westminster for parking and ‘Ride-throughs’ to other participating areas of the trial. The extension also allows further monitoring and will give us a better understanding of how dockless schemes can be safely accommodated on London’s streets. There is no reason to report at this present time whether the scheme is successful and seeing increased ridership, or otherwise, as this trial is primarily about the determination of a sound regulated and safe new mode of Micromobility personal transport.
2.2 The trialling of 68 e-scooter bays was a result of the City Council’s decision to manage the scheme under a bay-approach as opposed to a ‘free-floating’ parking model, of which some, if not most, of the currently unregulated dockless e-bike operators are using/ imposing on many of London’s streets. The clearly marked and traffic order derived trial bays have so far proven to be more effective at managing dockless mobility, when compared against the free-floating parking model. Our ‘Dead Space’ underused footway spaces designated for e-scooter parking have in particular received no objections and posed no known issues from those with protected characteristics, such as those visitors who are blind or partially sighted. This experience so far does not mean that the City Council should consider the implementation of more bays on its well-used footways, but there is evidence that the Dead Space areas are viable on a full site by site evaluation basis.
2.3 Micromobility remains to be a fast-changing sector and the details and timelines of regulatory powers desperately needed from the DfT are unknown. There is a need to ensure existing kerbside e-scooter parking allocations are retained to flexibly meet the demands of the market and to provide much needed kerbside spaces to manage parking for dockless vehicles and continue to prioritise footways for pedestrians.
2.4 It is reminded that participating boroughs continue to have the right to exit the trial at any point if deemed necessary. Any redundant would bays return to an alternative use to meet the changing demands of our kerbside allocations.
Publication date: 16/12/2022
Date of decision: 16/12/2022
Effective from: 24/12/2022