Everything you need to know about the new e-scooter trial
Despite being a common site across London, private e-scooters remain illegal to use on the roads in the UK. As a result, London has fallen behind several global cities, where e-scooter hires from major brands such as Lime and Dott have taken off!
That all changes now.
As of June, 7th 2021, Canary Wharf is one of the select few locations in the UK with permission to trial the hiring of e-scooters for 12 months.
This guide will provide everything you need to know about hiring of electronic scooters in Canary Wharf. Covering from how fast the e-scooters go, to how to hire the scooters, costs and more, by the end you’ll be ready to ride!
Did you know?
Riders of private e-scooters in the UK can receive a £300 fixed penalty notice and six points on their driving licence if stopped by police.
The types of scooter available in Canary Wharf
There are approximately 100 e-scooters in Canary Wharf. This is spread between three brands that have been vetted by TFL:
- All the scooters have to meet TFL’s stringent standards, so are very similar models that are designed specifically for the London market.
- They are all operated with one accelerator and hand brakes, are limited to 15 mph (ca. 24 km/h), and have larger wheels of at least 12 inches in diameter.
While Canary Wharf is the only area in East London to currently have permission to trial the rental TFL scooters, the entire Borough of Tower Hamlets is designated as a ride-through borough.
This means that you are free to explore the local area, but currently, journeys must start and end in the Canary Wharf estate.
What are the rules surrounding Canary Wharf’s e-scooters?
Part of the reason behind trialling e-scooters for hire only, is that safety features are easy to regulate. TFL have drawn up a list of requirements, which all 3 e-scooters you can hire in Canary Wharf comply with:
- Lights on the front and rear of the e-scooters remain on at all times
- All e-scooters are fitted with a bell or buzzer on the handlebars
- Speeds are limited to a maximum of 12.5 mph (ca. 20 km/h) in the London trial
- Designated go-slow areas automatically limit the e-scooters speeds to 8mph (ca. 13 km/h)
Hiring a scooter is quick and convenient, however there are several rider requirements to be aware of:
- All riders need to be over 18
- Riders need to have at least a provisional driving licence
- Before the initial use each app has a mandatory e-learning video to watch
- Helmets are recommended but not mandatory
Where can you ride and park?
Scooters are available to be hired from multiple bays within Canary Wharf. These are highlighted in each individual app, displaying the number of scooters available and their respective charging levels.
Within London e-scooters must obey the same rules as cyclists. Riding is only permitted on roads or in designated cycle lanes — not pavements!
The e-scooters are fitted with geo-fencing — the same technology used to stop drones flying in restricted areas — which means that the designated zones are enforced automatically.
There are 3 types of zone:
Unlocking and costs
Canary Wharf e-scooter costs
All three brands of e-scooter have virtually identical pricing.
A £1 initial fee unlocks the scooters, before charges of 15p-16p per minute apply.
Dott £0.15 per minute
Tier £0.15 per minute
Lime £0.16 per minute
TfL identify the typical ride as 15-minutes, working out at between £3.25 and £3.40. This places the e-scooters as slightly more expensive than Santander Cycles — £2 for 30 minutes — albeit with a lot less peddling!
How to register to use an e-scooter
Required: driving licence, credit or debit card, 5 minutes
1. Downloading Tier / Dott / Lime
There are a mixture of e-scooters around Canary Wharf.
As a result, if you are a frequent user, it might be worth the hassle of registering for all 3 apps to ensure that there is always a scooter available during peak times.
2. User verification and payment
Within the respective apps, adding a payment method and scanning your driving licence is required for the initial set up.
TFL have placed the rider safety on the individual e-scooter brands.
For the initial registration only, each app has a differing e-learning video you need to watch.
4. Unlock your ride!
Scooter locations and charging levels are displayed in the app.
All three brands of e-scooter are unlocked by scanning the QR codes displayed on the handlebars of the nearest scooter.
Once you have scanned the £1 unlock fee will be applied and running charges are now applied.
Avoiding the DLR — Can you scoot to the City of London?
Yes, but not yet! As of June 7th, the e-scooter trials began in 4 London Boroughs alongside the Canary Wharf estate. The City of London planned to join in the initial group, however this has been delayed due to admin issues until July.
While not one of the participating boroughs for hiring or parking scooters, Tower Hamlets will be a ride through borough.
This means that when the City of London Corporation join the scheme as the fifth local authority on July 5th, you will be able to scoot between Canary Wharf and the City of London.
It’s great to see London catch up with more than 100 cities that permit e-scooters worldwide. While this initial 12 month trial restricts hiring and parking of the circa 100 electric scooters in Canary Wharf only, it is likely that scooters will become a feature across the capital if the trial is successful.
While there are several rules to adhere to in the background — from e-learning to colour zones — the technology is used in such a way that it feels very intuitive, and it doesn’t take long to get up to speed!
At just over £3 for the average 15-minute journey, and at up to 12.5 mph (ca. 20 km/h), e-scooters are a relatively affordable way to cover short journeys. Whether they will become the finance industries transport mode of choice, reducing the overcrowding on the DLR line between Canary Wharf and the City of London, remains to be seen!