Following previous fires, Transport for London announced a ban on all e-scooters on its network, commencing December 13th. The restriction will apply to all London public transportation, including subway trains and buses.
E-scooters are officially prohibited on UK highways and sidewalks, but they can still be purchased in stores for usage on private property. The only licensed e-scooters in use in London are those used in rental trials that began this summer. Mobility scooters, which are authorized on TfL’s network, are exempt from the restriction, and foldable e-bikes are still permitted.
« We have been highly concerned by recent events on our public transportation systems, which entailed intense fires and significant smoke and damage, » said Lilli Matson, TfL’s chief safety, health, and environment officer. « We worked with the London Fire Brigade to establish how we should handle these devices, and as a result of that study, we have chosen to ban them. » Customers who attempt to bring them onto our network will be denied access to our stations and premises, as well as the usage of any of our services. »
TfL did not mention any specific fires, however local press reported in November on an event in which an e-scooter burst in a London Underground station, causing black smoke.
The events, according to the transportation agency, were caused by « defective lithium-ion batteries that exploded without warning, » resulting in flames that produced hazardous fumes. TfL stated in a news release that if such a fire occurred in an enclosed location, it may cause considerable injury to workers and customers.
Anyone who violates the ban faces a fine of up to £1,000 (about $1,300 USD).